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Switch (1991)

R | | Comedy, Fantasy | 10 May 1991 (USA)
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Steve Brooks is a sexist and the prototype macho. Unfortunately one day he is killed by one of his girlfriends. In heaven, though, there is no place for men like him and he is sent back to ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Walter Stone
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Margo Brofman
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Sheila Faxton
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Arnold Freidkin
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Steve Brooks
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The Devil (as Bruce Martyn Payne)
...
Liz
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Felicia
...
Higgins
...
Steve's Secretary
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Dan Jones
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Attorney Caldwell
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Lt. Laster
...
Sgt. Phillips
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Storyline

Steve Brooks is a sexist and the prototype macho. Unfortunately one day he is killed by one of his girlfriends. In heaven, though, there is no place for men like him and he is sent back to earth in the body of a woman so that he can see how women are treated by men like the one he once was. Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Steve and Walter used to have a preference for blondes. Then Steve was murdered... and came back as one. Will being a woman make him a better man?

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 May 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blake Edwards' Switch  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$15,545,943 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was indirectly referenced in numerous episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988). In the original television spots for the film, Jimmy Smits name was announced in an unusual way: "Ellen Barkin. Switch. Jimmy Smits. Starts Friday." The writers of MST3K found it amusing that Smits' name was announced after the title and not announced as "also starring Jimmy Smits" or "with Jimmy Smits", only as "Jimmy Smits". In various episodes, a character would say "Jimmy Smits" whenever the word "switch" was uttered or sometimes for seemingly no reason at all. See more »

Goofs

When Amanda punches Walter, the sound comes before the hit. See more »

Quotes

Amanda Brooks: You look like shit, pal.
Walter Stone: You don't look too good yourself. You all right? You're red. Got a fever or something.
Amanda Brooks: Probably too much rouge. Got to be a fucking Rembrandt to put on makeup.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Mr Ya Miss (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Dream After Dream
Written by David Dixon & Michael Szumowski
Performed by Indecent Obsession
Produced by Michael Szumowski
Published by MCA Music Publishing (ASCAP) & Melodian Records Pty. Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lots of potential, short on direction
5 July 2002 | by (Richmond, VA) – See all my reviews

'Switch' is a movie that adds up to less than the sum of its parts. I think the main problem with that is writer/director Blake Edwards. Edwards policy of straying from the controversial ends up detracting from the film. 'Switch' could have been a brilliant gender-role satire like Edwards' earlier 'Victor/Victoria'. Instead we get an overlong barrage of bad clothing jokes.

Under Edwards direction (and pen), 'Switch' merely tests the waters of controversy, rather than jumping in. This can be seen mostly through the attempted lesbian relationship between Ellen Barkin and Lorraine Bracco. Rather than plumbing the questions this scene would raise, Edwards steps back. This leaves the audience scratching their heads, asking 'Why didn't they do anything? What was the point of this? What is the director trying to say?'

Therein lies the problem: Edwards doesn't seem to be saying much of anything. The most he says is 'Men can't be more like women because men only think of sex.' The three main male characters - Steve, Walter, and Arnold - are all driven almost purely by sex. And not without consequence: Arnold gets blackmailed, and Steve gets shot. Women aren't portrayed very well either in this film: Margo, Felicia and Liz all use sex to further their own ends. They are manipulative, materialistic, greedy, and spiteful. Anything Edwards is trying to say about men, women, the relationships they form, and society's views of them comes across as incredibly muddled and lacking in coherence.

The major problem with all of this comes from Edwards' script. He really didn't give this story the work it needed. The simple concept - a womanizer comes back as a woman - has plenty of comic potential. This could have been a modern comedy of sexual and social manners, satirizing the values society places on both men and women. However, that kind of movie would probably be slightly controversial. Instead, we get a movie that is comprised mostly of jokes about high heels, breasts, sex, and makeup.

All of the problems come from Edwards' direction. The actors try their best, despite the poor material. Ellen Barkin gives the best performance in the movie, and she must have had the hardest time. She is basically playing a man trapped in a woman's body, but the character is made up of nothing but stereotypes: she drinks, smokes, swears, ogles women (including herself), and has little redeeming value. What makes this strange is that about halfway through she begins to take on a feminist tone. She says "Men can say 'I'd like to get laid.' This isn't right for a woman to feel?" This whole path of character development is really hard to swallow from someone who has been female for less than a week. Barkin manages to make it watchable and enjoyable, even if it isn't plausible.

The other actors do decent jobs in this movie, even if the roles really aren't memorable. JoBeth Williams and Lorraine Bracco come most readily to mind. Jimmy Smits does a credible job, even if he comes across as flat.

Despite my laying into Blake Edwards for the choices he made, this movie really isn't as bad as I may make it sound. It makes for decent entertainment. Watch it as a minor entry into the director's body of work, a performance from an actor/actress you like, or as part of a 'Gender in the Media' class. When you do though, give yourself a moment of silence for the movie 'Switch' could have been.


14 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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