Family Switch

Family Switch
Family Switch
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When you play Family Switch it feels like one of those holiday gifts that you’d pull out of the stocking and hope for a cool surprise. Instead, you get an alright gift card or something to that effect. You’re grateful, but damn do you still want more. This is what I immediately thought after twenty minutes into the new Netflix body-swapping comedy with four family members who woke up in different skins one morning. The mom and daughter have switched bodies so have the father and son. Cue: screams of uncertainty.

A search about this scenario on Google turns up void and someone quips in a supposedly self-aware manner “This is a situation that has never occurred before, none like it.” But my dear, yes it has. In 13 Going on 30, Freaky, Change-Up,Freaky Friday, All of Me,Prelude to Kiss,and 17 Again among others. The difference is that while McG directed this film written by Victoria Strouse and Adam Sztykiel (and based on Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s book Bedtime for Mommy), this story takes place during the crazy holiday season giving its cast creative leeway to race through frantic movements.

Here, Jennifer Garner plays alongside Ed Helms Emma Myers Brady Noon as top stars of family-comedy films providing enough humor for everyone.The point is don’t worry we’re not yet fed up with such kind stories due to our psyches becoming jaded over time.There really is quite a bit to like about Family Switch though.

Family Switch reminded me of the French movie from last year Family Swap.Bill Walker (Ed Helms) Jess Walker (Jennifer Garner) try their best to keep their kids close as CC (Emma Myers) and Wyatt (Brady Noon) become older independent, then again it’s just one aspect of being young in these times.Astrologer (Rita Moreno) accidently meets an unusual celestial occasion at an observatory, and the next day her family will wake up in each others bodies.

The timing is bad because that morning happened to be the most important day of their respective lives. The adults have a work promotion and record deal to get, while the kids have a college interview and soccer tryout just days before Christmas. But let’s not overthink this as school would normally be closed by then anyway. Just relax and enjoy it since, after all, once the set-up is complete the writers bring on tons of funnies and McG goes wild with action scenes galore plus some slapstick humor.

Of course, we’ve seen Garner in this genre before; 13 Going on 30 never gets old.She continues the familiar role she has been playing ever since Alias made her America’s sweetheart—bright, funny, quick-witted Jennifer Garner. Literally. Don’t believe for a second that just because it looks like Garner would phone in what seems like another version of her body trapped inside a teenage girl she doesn’t still manage to throw you off with comedic timing every now and then. “Mom,” she ponders while looking at herself in front of the mirror in exercise pants, “check out your biscuit?” then adds that momma got back too. Fun.Garner shines brightest here even though there’s plenty of charm from everyone else in the cast as well.

Sprinting through one high-stakes escapade after another, this is an incredibly entertaining way to wile away an hour and three quarters (a little more tightening would have made the whole thing a bit better). Have no fear; they all end happily. In fact, it’s kind of fun watching young Brady Noon “act” like an adult around people. Emma Myers does alright as grown up Jess. Ed Helms does a brilliant job playing a nerdy but troubled teenager unlike Bill who is more athletic.

Luckily, the dialogue never falls flat on arrival. For instance, there is “Honestly I want to be you though. I’d kill for twelve donuts and then poof!” On the other hand, there is also a “You’re too good for me; you roll out of bed in the morning and drink Gatorade” and lastly a “According to my intimacy doula Blaze, couples need at least 12 kisses per day just to remain in love.” It’s delightful to watch Garner and Helms react because at this point they are siblings.

The family has managed to get together for Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house. Other events that provide these people with plenty of stuff to play off or react toward are holiday house parties, ladies’ gathering, soccer game etc.; Matthias Schweighöfer (Oppenheimer), Fortune Feimster (The Mindy Project), Howie Mandel, Ned Ballamy (Blonde) among others are additional comic relief characters. Their roles aren’t very important apart from giving support to the core four but it is great seeing those familiar faces again. They employed several special effects that added some mystery into it which was nice.

But just when you think you’ve seen everything, Family Switch offers up an emotional ending that can resonate with audiences of any age group whatsoever. None of us really know what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes so while it may not be wholly new territory, it’s still entertaining to watch these shenanigans unfold. Funny, bright and touching, Family Switch might actually be a good stocking filler. From November 30th, this movie will be available on Netflix; click this link to view the film.

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