With the world inching closer to Christmas, films centered around the jolly good festivities and with a focus on the values of family and friendship are increasing in number. The comedy-drama film Family Switch on Netflix is the latest addition to the genre, but with a supernatural twist. As Christmas draws nearer in San Francisco, the Walker family has to go through bizarre situations when their bodies get switched with one another. There is nothing interesting or worthwhile beyond the surface in Family Switch, although it can still be a silly but decent watch if expectations are kept accordingly.
Plot Summary: What is the film about?
Being a Christmas film centered solely on the theme of familial bonds, Family Switch obviously begins in the living room of the Walkers, who are, expectedly, a disjointed group with growing distance between each of the members. The parents, Bill and Jess, have prepared a very passionate dance performance, with matching outfits even, as is their yearly ritual, to mark the beginning of the festive week. But much to their dismay, their children are no longer interested in such celebrations, for they are in the reformative teenage years. The daughter, CC, is busy on her phone chatting with friends, while the son, Wyatt, is engrossed in his virtual reality headset. The only audience that Bill and Jess have are their toddler son Miles and the pet dog Pickles, probably only because the two cannot really do anything other than sit and stare. The parents are even more dejected at the fact that their kids refuse to shoot the family Christmas video, which they used to love doing in their younger days. Even though they mostly blame CC and Wyatt for the family falling apart, Bill and Jess, too, have distance growing between themselves.
However, the entire scenario changes for the family the next day, when they decide to visit the local planetarium to observe an extremely rare planetary alignment. While Wyatt is genuinely interested in seeing the occurrence, Jess wants to shoot their family Christmas video at the place and, therefore, takes everyone along. At the gates of the planetarium, the Walkers meet an elderly woman introducing herself as Angelica, who works as a traveling psychic. As is part of her profession, Angelica tells fortunes to people in exchange for money, and she specifically calls out to the Walkers, mentioning how they need some Christmas magic to bring themselves closer. Jess and the others ignore the woman and walk into the planetarium, and by the time their chance comes to observe the alignment, the four keep arguing with each other. Since the family also needs to get their pictures taken, they reach out to the only other person present at the place, which happens to be Angelica. But when the woman takes the photo, a bright light from outer space hits the planetarium, and total chaos ensues. As a result, the Walker family manages to break the telescope and shut down the place.
But what is more concerning, though, is the fact that the Walkers wake up the next morning with a bizarre twist. Bill and Wyatt have somehow exchanged bodies, meaning that the son is now stuck in the father’s body, and vice versa, while Jess and CC have experienced a similar switch. In the most hilarious turn, baby Miles and Pickles have also had their bodies exchanged, as the baby starts acting like the dog while the dog is like a well-mannered baby.
How does the switch hamper the lives of the Walkers?
After the mysterious and supernatural switch of bodies, the lives of each of the Walker family members were disrupted and intervened, as they all had their own things going. The only exceptions to this are Miles and Pickles, who are present only as comedic elements, and they are mostly sidelined in the plot. As the four important characters go around living each other’s lives and then trying to find a solution for their weird situation, the baby and the pet dog are kept at their rather unfriendly neighbor’s house, Rolf’s house. Each of the four members has something extremely important coming up, and Family Switch also spends considerable time establishing their personalities.
Bill Walker is a happy-go-lucky man who is rarely distressed or scared of any situation. The man is very expressively goofy and friendly, and he is not perturbed by the fact that he is not a very intelligent or clever fellow. Bill had always been a popular kid during his high school and college days, and he was also very passionately part of a band that he and his friends had named Maroon 6. But the man could not keep up with his dreams and aspirations of becoming a rockstar, as life brought in responsibilities and adult objects. It is jokingly implied by the film that the famous band Maroon 5 originally included Bill, too, as they were six members at the time, but only 5 were left after Bill had to quit. At present, the man is very dedicated to his love for cars, as he has renovated an old car of theirs too. Bill has also returned to a life in music, probably because he can now afford it, and he is part of a band called Dad or Alive. Incidentally, the Dad or Alive band has a stage performance in a day, which is extremely crucial as they can be selected to perform in some Hollywood film if they can impress.
The sharp contrast to Bill is his teenage son Wyatt, who is extremely nerdy and shy in his personal life. Totally unlike his father, Wyatt is interested in academics and science, and his image as a nerd is complete when it is established that the boy’s most cherished possession is his special Pokémon card. He spends most of his days either studying hard or discussing grave matters of science and technology with his equally geeky friends. The boy is scared of driving cars and is not popular at school at all, even being regularly bullied by a boy named Hunter. Even though Wyatt is very interested in a girl named Ariana, he does not have the courage to tell her about it or do anything about his interest in her. At present, Wyatt is very concerned about an upcoming interview with a committee from Yale, for he wants to skip high school and directly start his university education.
It is, therefore, no wonder that the father and son having their bodies exchanged causes a lot of trouble for both of them. As Bill has to sit for the Yale interview, in the body of Wyatt, he totally makes a mess of the situation. The man has no knowledge of science and is not even intelligent enough to navigate through the situation, so he instead tries to make jokes and show his confidence in doing things. When Ariana comes up and invites him to a party, Bill remains careful not to kiss the girl, but he also makes things weird for Wyatt by simply running away from the place. On the other side, when the time for the stage performance comes, Wyatt, in the body of his father, freaks out and hides inside a bathroom stall, not knowing what to do. He also experiences the many terrible pains of being in his father’s body and has to deal with the physical fitness of the aging man.
Jess Walker is an extremely hard-working woman who works at an architectural firm. In the coming time, she is supposed to get a very important client onboard, and she is promised a share in her company if she is able to do so. With regards to her profession and interests, she is very different from her teenage daughter, CC, who is very athletic and wants to become a professional soccer player. The most important event in CC’s life is also about to take place the very next day, when a scout from the US Women’s Soccer Team is about to come to see her play and decide whether to select her for the national team. Therefore, the lives of both of them are hampered terribly when their bodies get exchanged. CC has to wear boring clothes and go to work at her mother’s office, where she even has to lead the presentation for the client. This goes terribly as CC eats ice cream before the meeting, not remembering that her mother is lactose intolerant, and then has to speak on a subject that she has no idea about. On the other side, Jess has no interest in or experience in soccer, and she has filled in for her daughter during the crucial match.
Both the mother and the daughter fail to save each other’s situation, and this leads to the relationship between the two growing even worse. Jess had once been an athlete herself, but an injury had ruined her prospects completely, so she did not want CC to make the same mistakes as her and to concentrate equally on her studies. But Jess’ words of caution and concern were always interpreted by CC as strict and unnecessary rules set for her life by her controlling mother. There are shortcomings on Jess’ side, too, for she does not keep confidence in her daughter and sometimes wrongly believes that she is wasting her life away.
What had caused the strange switch?
The main idea in Family Switch is the lack of understanding and bond that can often grow among families, especially when children start to change, and the possible solution to such a problem. In the film, the psychic Angelica plays a very important role, as she is shown to have more knowledge than normal humans around her. Angelica can be seen as a semi-Godly figure of sorts, or she can also be considered very good at her stated profession. This is because she immediately identifies the flaws in the Walker family and then does some magic on the celestial level to bring the members back together, just as they should be. Angelica is the one to make the mysterious switch, or at least she is the one to facilitate it, as she possibly knew about the possibility of the bodies of family members changing during the extremely rare planetary alignment.
The intention was to place each of the family members in the other’s shoes and make them realize how their close ones do not always have everything very easy. Bill realizes that Wyatt is extremely talented and far more intelligent than those around him. Wyatt learns how his father sacrificed his passion for music to build a life and support the family, and he understands that despite Bill’s goofy attitude, he is a very loving and passionate man. The daughter, CC, realizes how her mother, Jess, was indeed very proud of her skills as a soccer player and also gets to know about the many sacrifices that the woman had been making in her personal life to support her budding soccer career. Lastly, Jess also finds out that CC has been concentrating on her studies with equal attention and realizes that she is being unnecessarily hard on her. It is these realizations about each other that ultimately solve the strange situation for the family.
How Did the Walkers return to their original bodies?
The Walkers had believed that looking at the planetary alignment through the telescope had caused their switch, and so they felt that fixing the telescope and looking through it while the alignment lasted would be enough to bring them back to their original bodies. This is why they rush to the planetarium within time, with a special lens required for the telescope to work, which Wyatt got hold of from his friend in exchange for his precious Pokémon card. When this lens accidentally breaks, though, they realize that baby Miles had taken away the original lens of the telescope and had kept it hidden in his pockets for all this while. The family members finally use the telescope, hoping to return to their original bodies, but fail to realize that it is Angelica who can help them and not the telescope.
During Family Switch‘s ending, Angelica is convinced that the family has learned their lesson, and she switches them back to their original bodies. Everything works out for the family members, starting with Bill’s band getting selected to play in a movie, after the whole family came along to help Wyatt perform on stage. Jess also gets the client and the shares in her firm, as the client is also convinced by their family spirit. The distance that had been growing between the couple is also no longer there, as their moments of enjoyment together had revived the love between Bill and Jess. Both Wyatt and CC had actually wanted to get away from their parents, but they now realize that time with the family will not always last. Therefore, when Wyatt is rejected by Yale, he is still happy to stay at home for another year and also shares his first kiss with Ariana. The USWNT scout personally visits CC and informs her that she will receive another chance to impress, as he acknowledged Jess’ action of checking on the opponent player even when there was a chance to score the winning goal. Jess now allows CC to go on any soccer tour if selected, and finally, the Christmas story of the Walker family comes to a happy end.