I'm coming out of blogging exile to ruin a movie for you. There will undoubtedly be spoilers in this post. Although the whole movie is spoiled by the trailer, so it probably doesn't even matter. But if you don't want to be spoiled further, stop reading. I'll even skip some lines for you.
Okay, that was a really infuriating movie. It's an hour and forty minutes of keep-away. See, Jennifer Aniston's character has a power. She's somehow able to make Jason Bateman's throat close up just by walking away, or changing the subject, or telling him she doesn't want to talk about it now.
Because all he has to do is tell her he switched the stupid sperm sample, and then the movie's over. And in fact, when he finally does tell her, the movie spends three minutes delivering the conclusion you know is coming, and then it's done. There's nothing left. Once she knows, there is nothing left.
And so we just have to follow them on this stupid journey where we know what's going to happen, we just don't know when. We start with the insanely-contrived nonsense of Jason Bateman's character switching the sperm samples but not being able to remember that he did... and then we proceed to the insanely-contrived nonsense where every time he tries to tell her, the conversation gets interrupted. Often interrupted by nothing except her saying he should be quiet... which of course makes him lose the ability to speak.
Start with the first part. So... I'll buy the stupidity of her "insemination party," where she invites the donor she's selected to come to her apartment and fill a cup in her bathroom while all of her friends celebrate in the living room. I guess. And, I don't know, if they want us to forgive them the absurdity of this party, the least they could do is make the rest of the scene make sense...
But, no. Because even if you can accept that someone would have some guy deliver his sperm sample in the bathroom with all of her friends there for the fun, there's a whole set of other contrivances just to get the plot rolling. Stupid ditzy friend has to force Jason Bateman to take some random "herbal medicine" she's carrying around with her-- which he takes, even though he's been established as a neurotic hypochondriac who's worried about everything he does, and hates this friend anyway. It makes no sense that he takes the mystery pill, no questions asked. Okay. Then when he has to go to the bathroom, someone's in there-- but whoever's in there makes the helpful suggestion: "use the other bathroom." Oh, okay. Good idea. Because, of course, the sperm sample is in there. And of course, he's drugged just enough to decide to play games with the sperm sample, and just enough to get spooked by the knock at the door, and just enough to accidentally wash the sperm down the drain-- but not enough to not be of sound-enough mind to know he should probably replace the thing. With his own sperm.
Excuse me while I ask a stupid question: wouldn't the movie be a lot more interesting if he actually MADE A DECISION to replace the sperm with his own instead of it all being some stupid contrived accident? This is the main character. This is the plot the whole movie is being built around. And, oops, it's an accident. Well, that makes it all annoyingly pointless.
Okay, and of course the drug makes him forget everything he's done-- except he's lucid enough to walk to where his only friend lives and tell him enough of these details so that he doesn't know the entire story, and thinks it's all just random gibberish-- until 7 years later, when somehow he can recall the exact gibberish that his friend said, and finally put the pieces together. How convenient!
And as soon as she gets pregnant, she goes away for 7 years to live with her parents in Minnesota, never notices her son looks exactly like her best friend, eats his food the same way her best friend eats his food, has all of the same neuroses... and none of it ever clicks. And after being out of touch for 7 years, she comes back to New York, and her life falls back into place exactly as it was, they're best friends again, and we can get on with the story.
So the son is exactly like the best friend, Jennifer Aniston is clueless, we spend 45 minutes waiting for Jason Bateman to remember what happened (magic!) and then finally tell her the truth... and then we can have our happy ending.
Why does she blame him anyway? He was drugged by her friend! Oh, but if she didn't blame him, we wouldn't have a movie.
And why doesn't she notice her son is exactly like Jason Bateman? Because we wouldn't have a movie.
And what is up with her mystery parents back in Minnesota who apparently made no impact on their grandson's life? Because the kid's whole set of issues is about having no family and no one to fill his picture frames... what about the damn grandparents-- the reason she moved back to Minnesota, so that they could help her raise him? They must be really sucky people. Also, no one bothered to cast them.
Even at the end-- and if anyone didn't see that last shot coming (empty picture frames? Why, I do believe it's quite possible those picture frames are going to wind up filled with pictures of the new happy family!) they should be sent back to Movies 101 -- those mystery grandparents don't even get one poor photo.
Okay, so I hated this movie. Sort of. The kid seems must be a frighteningly good actor, because he somehow made everything that came out of his mouth completely believable, and was hands-down the best part of this movie. And Jason Bateman really did do his best to sell this. He almost made me believe this character. He almost made me understand why he couldn't tell her, why he had to hold this secret in for an hour and a half. Almost. It's all so... glossy. It's all so neat, and easy, and glib, and sunny.
But it's just so aggravating to watch. Just tell her already. Let us see the consequences. Let us see something real. Anything real. Anything.
End of rant.