Written and directed by Blake Edwards, Switch was released theatrically in 1991 and is now available on DVD courtesy of HBO Home Video. Switch stars Ellen Barkin (Amanda), Jimmy Smits (Walter), Perry King (Steve), JoBeth Williams (Margo), and Lorraine Bracco (Sheila).
Steve, a notorious womanizer and advertising executive, is invited to spend the evening with three of his ex-girlfriends. Unbeknownst to him, they're actually planning his demise in order to save other women from his clutches. They carry out their plans, and Steve is dumped in the river. However, in the afterlife, God confronts Steve, and tells him that while he has done enough good things to get into heaven, he also deserves to go to hell for his mistreatment of women. When Steve argues that there's at least one woman on earth that likes him, God says that if he can find just one woman who does, he'll get into heaven. However, when he arrives back on earth, the devil tells God that its not fair – Steve will just find some easily seduced woman and secure his spot in heaven. The devil proposes that God turn Steve into a woman, and that's exactly what he does. Now Steve's mission is made all the more impossible – he can't use his good looks or charms and he's entirely unfamiliar with getting by as a woman, but he has to find a way, or spend eternity in hell.
I had seen Switch before, a few years ago, and I remember not being all that impressed with it. But I figured since I was younger then, I just didn't "get" it, and it would be funnier this time. It wasn't, and that's the problem with the film – its just not that funny. It's not the fault of Barkin though, who does a terrific job portraying a woman entirely unfamiliar with being a woman. The other actors are decent, and it was neat seeing Bracco in something besides the Sopranos.
Switch is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer used is pretty good, though it does have its flaws. For instance, there's some grain through most of the movie, which results in a soft look. A few specks, marks, and scratches also appear, though they are infrequent. There's also an instance or two of shimmering. Colors are vibrant and flesh tones are accurate – for the most part. In a few scenes, when the camera changes angles, colors go from light to dark and flesh tones get paler. A good example of this is in chapter 6; Walter's coat changes from a light brown to a dark brown. Blacks are also decent throughout the film.
Switch is presented in Dolby Surround 2.0. The movie is almost entirely dialogue, so surrounds are seldom used, with the exception of the music, which sounds decent. Dialogue throughout the film is clean and easy to understand with no distortion that I detected. Optional subtitles in English, French, and Spanish are also available.
For extras, you get biographies/filmographies for the five principal actors and the director and the original trailer. The trailer shows its age and is presented in full frame.
Switch is a decent rental if you're a fan of Barkin or Blake Edward's work in general; however, I'd discourage a purchase unless you're either a diehard fan of the film or you find it cheap. Rent it.