The Family Switch

The Holidays force families to spend more time with one another, and everyone may be at a different stage of their lives. Stereotypically, parents are the ones to keep the Christmas spirit alive, even when the little ones grow into teenagers. It’s hard for parents to accept that their children are growing up and that they lead their own lives. Once children become teenagers, it’s hard for everyone to communicate and understand. Parents try their best to help the teens in their lives. What teens want more than anything is to be understood by their parents. The Holidays can be hectic and draining, but it’s all worth it once everyone sits down for dinner to enjoy everyone’s company. No matter how big or small your family is, there will always be arguments. But the love to celebrate every Holiday together and be festive brings joy and generosity out of everyone. In the Family Switch, directed by McG, the Walkers are tested this Christmas to see if they can revive the Holiday spirit and become closer than ever. 

We meet Jess (Jennifer Garner) and Bill (Ed Helms), who are dressed in ridiculous Christmas costumes while doing a dance routine called “The Walker Electric Slide.” The only problem is that this used to be a group effort, and their children, CC (Emma Myers) and Wyatt (Brady Noon), could not be more uninterested. CC and Wyatt are opposites. CC plans on playing for the US National Team in soccer, and Wyatt’s goal is to attend Yale. On the other hand, Bill is trying to relive his glory days as a musician through his band “Dad or Alive” and Jess is an architect who plans on making partner. Everyone has their goals and aspirations, but the family unit is disconnected, causing chaos with scheduling and even spending quality time. It isn’t until the family goes to the planetarium for a group photo that everything changes. They meet the mysterious Angelica (Rita Moreno), who takes their group picture while arguing with one another. CC and Jess think they can’t handle living in each other’s shoes, whereas Bill and Wyatt say that life can’t be that hard, and through the power of planetary alignment, they all switch bodies. 

In true body-switching fashion, both teens become adults and vice versa. If you are a Jennifer Garner fan, you will be happy to know this has 13 Going on 30 vibes. Garner is perfectly cast as the do-it-all mom who tries to balance family time, being there for her kids, and moving up the corporate ladder at work. Once Jess switches bodies with CC, the mother and daughter realize how difficult each other’s lives are. CC is under constant pressure because she wants to be this soccer superstar, but her mother wants her to focus on her studies. The writing for both characters is stronger than the father and son dynamic because the focus is more on them. Bill wants his son to be like him and loosen up a little, but Wyatt is intelligent and is not entertained by the same things his father is interested in. Angelica wanted them to experience each other’s lives and embrace their differences. A multiple swap within a family has never been done before, and that’s why the writing for each character had to be so distinct for this to work. The heartfelt moments between Jess and CC make their dynamic the most engaging. Most audiences will connect with them because many children can relate to not fitting the mould their parents want them to fit in. 

The Family Switch is the most ambitious body-switch film and one of the most heartfelt. Helms, Garner, Noon and Myers were all perfectly cast, and it’s always great to see young actors act like their adult counterparts. It’s a sweet Holiday film that emphasizes parents being able to communicate more with their children to have a safe space to voice their concerns. This is a Holiday film the whole family can enjoy because of the absurd situations they all find themselves in. Teenagers go through many life changes and crucial moments that define their path in life. In this film, the parents want to improve their children’s lives by meddling with what used to work for them in high school. It’s the only way parents can relate, and sadly, teens don’t realize that even though times change, the same stereotypical rite of passage moments are universally experienced. It’s nice to see different tactics at work in this film to show that sometimes a new angle can be helpful. If you want an enjoyable family film to watch this weekend, this is one to put on to warm your heart. 


Review by: Amanda Guarragi 

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