Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Pseudo-sensitive bro-dude rom-com "Date and Switch" comes out today, and it already feels dated. It's about two high school buddies that cope with the knowledge that one of them is gay. The subject certainly isn't dated, but the film's dull post-John Hughes, sub-Judd Apatow style of comedy is like a just-buried time capsule full of accumulated clichés. You can practically hear a young Anthony Michael-Hall saying "Date and Switch" dialogue like "This is an American tradition. Having sex by prom is a story told over and over again by our greatest writers."
But a lack of on-screen charisma isn't what sinks "Date and Switch". Many of the film's jokes fall flat, like when straight kid Michael (Daniel Braun) nervously nettles his just-out-of-the-closet friend Matty (Hunter Cope) by saying Matty "aspires to handle the scrotum of other men." "Date and Switch" similarly devolves into stuffy clichés when it needs to prove its sincerity. It's like a feature-length sitcom: your assumptions won't be challenged, you won't laugh much, and you'll never be teased outside of your comfort zone. Or, to paraphrase Hall's character in "Weird Science": "Date and Switch" does not live, breathe, or aerobicize.
Best pals since early (well, earlier) childhood, Matty and Michael make a pact: they will get laid at prom. Then Matty spoils Michael's fun, and reveals that he's gay. This wouldn't be so bad if most of "Date and Switch" were about Matty, the one going through major changes. But because "Date and Switch"'s creators are targeting straight viewers, the film is mostly about Michael's gay panic. We see Michael accompany Matty to his first gay bar ("How are you supposed to meet anyone?" "I think you dance until somebody's dick slips into you."). And we see Michael look up "gay" in Google Image Search right before his hipster Mr. Belvedere dad Terry (Nick Offerman, of course) walks in on him.
After that, Michael panics even more when he finds out that Ava (Sarah Hyland), an attractive girl, had sex with Matty. At the same time, while Michael's mind is blown by the spectrum of sexual preference, Matty dates Greg (Zach Cregger), a quirky, sensitive, but rugged gay dude (they bond while watching Mexican wrestling!). Their relationship is inevitably threatened by a contrived twist, but you never get the sense that Michael could feel as hurt as Matty.