April 23, 2024

Family Switch 2023 Movie Review

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Family Switch 2023 Movie Review

    Oh MY god, Mom (Garner) and Dad (Helms) are MORTIFYING. They’re all garbed up in candy-cane tiaras and Xmas sweaters and dancing for the annual family Xmas video, but the kids are no longer enthused by such things. Wyatt (Brady Noon) is a fancy book-learnin’ nerd who’s got an interview with the Yale acceptance committee despite being only a freshman in high school. His big sis CC (Emma Myers) is a soccer star with scouts eyeballing her for a national team. The baby just covers his eyes at the sight of his parents acting the fool, and the dog lifts a leg and lets rip with a piss torrent of such mighty volume, the Xmas tree for sure ain’t drying out this year. Mom is an architect with a big project pitch on the docket, and if she lands it, she’ll – what’ll happen – you’ll never guess – never in a million years – OK, I’ll just say it – she’ll be made partner at the firm, of course! And Dad, a high school music teacher, fronts a band called Dad or Alive that’s auditioning for the TV competition show So You Think You Can Rock. As for the baby, whatever his name is, he ain’t done shit, because he’s a baby, but he seems destined to become the family member who flunks out of college and looks upon the outsized superlative achievements of his siblings and parents with white-hot bitterness.

    This family, though. They’re dysfunctional. They bicker and fight and don’t understand each other. For example: Mom would rather CC not pursue soccer so seriously because it’s just not practical, ignoring the fact that CC’s very passionate about it; Dad preaches to his band students about playing together “like a family,” but his own family doesn’t play together in the band that is life. Things like that, and whatnot and etc. All their Big Days are coincidentally the same day, as the screenplay dictates. Now, I yells to the screen, I yells, stay in tonight so you’re fresh and well-rested. But they don’t, because if they did, this movie wouldn’t be WACKY enough, and it wouldn’t have an opportunity to torture them with grandiose cosmic irony.

    They go to the planetarium (the same one from La La Land if I’m not mistaken!) because Wyatt likes science and stuff and wants to peer through the big telescope to see the planets align. But this is where science meets hokum: In the parking lot, they meet a fortune teller (Rita Moreno) with a twinkle in her eye that strikes me as troublesome. The whole family, even the dog – why? Just you wait! – climbs up to the telescope and checks out the heavenly bodies and the fortune teller makes a face and WHAMMO. The telescope breaks and the fortune teller chuckles and things are no longer as they should be.

    How, you may ask? Brain switcheroos: Wyatt with Dad, CC with Mom and, drumroll please, baby with dog. They forge ahead with their Very Important Day because they must, and in a manner befitting an extra-dumb Three Stooges, because the movie dictates that they must forge ahead in a “funny” manner. E.g., Mom’s body wears CC’s sporty clothes so CC’s brain can deliver the big work presentation, and CC eats ice cream despite the fact that Mom is lactose intolerant, and then she lets rip with elephantine farts in the middle of the pitch. CC’s body plays in the big game with Mom’s brain and Dad’s dumbass brain screws up the Yale interview but at least Dad’s body with Wyatt’s brain in it charms the girl Wyatt has a crush on. Meanwhile, the baby slurps from the dog bowl and the dog sits on the little potty to take a whiz – can you imagine that? I mean CAN YOU? IMAGINE? THAT? The only way they can fix this screwy sitch is to repair the telescope before the planets un-align and– you know, they’re probably better off praying to Santa for a goddamn Christmas miracle.

    Family Switch inventory: Flatulence, urine, dog reaction shots, a CGI baby acting like a dog, the fzwoop record-scratch noise bringing everything to a halt (twice in the same party sequence, even)? All in abundance. Inspiration? Not as much! I’d ask Who Writes This Shit, but that would imply actual writing occurring, instead of shtick being recycled from a half-dozen other movies that were also annoying, all of them beating to death the old cliché about what it’s like to walk around in another person’s shoes, or in this case, skull. There are relatively fresh, funny ways to reheat these leftovers (2020’s Freaky pulled it off), but this ain’t it. These jokes aren’t just old and stale, they’re disintegrated to ash, the odiferous gale of the movie’s idiotic fart jokes blasting the joke particles into the Gulf Stream to be distributed throughout the planet, their atoms eventually re-forming as the same jokes in another movie that’ll come out in 2027 that you should probably avoid. It’s the merciless, merciless cycle of life.

    The movie is directed by McG, who transitioned from Charlie’s Angels and a halfway-decent Terminator flick to become a house guy at Netflix, helming The Babysitter pictures and a Movie We Forgot Existed (Mostly Because It’s On Netflix), Rim of the World. No one would accuse him of auteurism, but Family Switch emanates serious let’s-get-through-this-and-get-paid vibes. It’s structured like so: Setup, loony incident, wacky shit, more wacky shit, even more wacky shit, climax/life lessons, denouement w/sentimental gloop, phony bloopers during the credits, fin. The cast gamely slogs through the material, and works so hard to sell hokey contrivances in a plot so overstuffed, there’s no room to find or cultivate any comedy, or indulge anything more than shopworn character tropes. Oh, and they forgot to reference Vice Versa, those jerks. I cannot stand by a movie that commits Fred Savage erasure.

    Family Switch 2023 Movie Review