Jason Bateman (JUNO) how now become an actor I like to watch even when the movie he's in isn't up to his standards (e.g. EXTRACT). He's become that way by embodying intelligent men who want more out of their lives but who are trapped in ones of quiet desperation because of an unwillingness to take the required risks and responsibilities that have to be made. He plays that role to the hilt in this surprisingly pleasant and thoughtful romantic comedy in which his best friend/love interest (Jennifer Aniston) announces her desire to become pregnant by artificial insemination. Through a funny, if not terribly believable, drunken misstep at an "incubation party," Bateman winds up being the sperm donor in a manner that will cuase you never to look at journalist Diane Sawyer in quite the same way again. Much of the humor is built around what happens when the fruit of his loins (Thomas Robinson) turns up with many of the same neuroses and traits shared with his father. To reveal any further developments in Allan Loeb's screenplay would make me a "killjoy" for a movie with an outcome that's already predictable but also very satisfying in the way that it treats the subject matter. There weere so many moments when Bateman could have gone wrong with his character but he never did and he gets strong support by way of Aniston's (OFFICE SPACE) likeability factor as well as from Jeff Goldblum (THE BIG CHILL), newcomer Robinson and Juliette Lewis (NATURAL BORN KILLERS), who acts like she's riffing off her image for off-screen loopiness. Despite a nondescript musical score and the presence of people who don't age over a seven-year period, THE SWITCH is a funny movie with its heart in the right place. And isn't that what a romantic comedy is supposed to be? CRITIC'S GRADE: B+

MOVIES TO WATCH FOR IN SEPTEMBER: THE AMERICAN (September 1), MACHETE (September 3), NEVER LET ME GO (September 15) DEVIL (September 17), EASY A (September 17), THE TOWN (September 17), BURIED (September 24), WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN" (September 24), WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (September 24), YOU AGAIN (September 24)