The whole purpose of the existence of movies like Family Switch is to entertain the audience for an hour or two, nothing more, nothing less. Family Switch on Netflix is a Christmas movie, but it brings the age-old concept of body swapping into the fold. The latter part is always exciting, if things are pulled off right. Family Switch takes off a little shaky, but the film interestingly gets better with each passing minute. The end product is a surprisingly well-made, genuinely fun Christmas movie with a great emotional payoff. There isn’t much confusion in the rather simple narrative, except for the character of Angelica. Let us take a closer look.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Movie?
Imagine Andy Bernard in his post-Dunder Mifflin days, but with a family. Ed Helms plays Bill Walker, who is a high school music teacher. The Walker family is your staple dysfunctional family. Bill’s wife, Jess, is a stressed architect on a big firm. Their teenage son, Wyatt, is your regular science nerd waiting for the big Yale interview. CC, the daughter, is a soccer prodigy and a rather popular kid at school. Jess and Bill also have an infant son, Miles, and then there is a pug, Pickles. While the couple tries their best to unite the family to have a great Christmas together, the teenagers seem distant and uninterested. Jess and Bill also seem to have zero spark between them, but this is not that kind of a film, so we know for a fact that it will come back. With a name like Family Switch, you wait for the thing to happen from the very first moment, as you know that’s when the real movie begins. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much time for this movie to get there.
How Does The Switch Happen?
It is an astronomical event, of course. In this case, a planetary alignment thing happened a few days before Christmas. It’s Wyatt’s thing, but Jess pretty much forces Andy and Bill to be there, along with Miles and Pickles, of course. Outside the planetarium, the family comes across this mysterious elderly woman who calls herself Angelica. After getting inside, the family bickers among themselves as the planets are about to align. Jess is not too happy about CC’s potential soccer career, while Wyatt whines about his dad being a middle-aged jock and not letting him be. A mini-accident happens at the exact same moment as the alignment. Nobody gets hurt; just one small lens of the telescope gets broken. The Walker family returns home, all sad and frustrated. And the next morning, bang!
Wyatt wakes up in Bill’s body, and vice versa. CC and Jess have the same fate. They all expected to freak out, but there’s no time for that, as they soon realize that Miles is inside Pickles’ body, and the dog is obviously chilling inside the body of a human baby. Thanks to Miles running away inside his dog body, the Walker family has an immediate brush with their neighbor, Rolf, a weird but very organized German man.
Adhering to what always happens in these movies, three of the Wyatt family members have something extremely important on the very same day of the weirdest possible tragedy that could happen to them. Jess has a very important presentation, which would make her a partner at her firm. CC has a very important soccer game where a national scout will be present to assess her performance. And Wyatt has his Yale interview. So the Walkers have no choice but to try and fill in for each other. And it goes as bad as you would expect. In Jess’ body, CC makes a bloated mess at the presentation. On the other hand, Jess fails to produce a great display on the field as CC, which effectively hurts CC’s chances of breaking into the national side. Even when Jess gets the opportunity to score the winning goal, she chooses to help the injured opposition goalkeeper get up. Meanwhile, Bill, now inside his son’s body, gets to be a jock again but completely flunks the Yale interview. Wyatt, on the other hand, manages to have a moment with his crush, Ariana, while being inside his father’s body. The sentence sounds weird, but that’s exactly how it goes.
How Does The Walker Family Handle The Body Switching?
CC and Wyatt get tired of their parents’ middle-aged bodies while the parents, now inside the bodies of their children, sneak out for a party that was supposed to be Wyatt’s date with Ariana. Bill, inside Wyatt’s body, gets into his groove and charms everyone at the party. But when Ariana tries to kiss him, he understandably pulls away. On the other hand, Jess has a great time on her own, and eventually, Bill joins in. The party people get weirded out by the brother and sister getting increasingly close while dancing their hearts out. They obviously have no idea. While their parents have fun inside their bodies, CC and Wyatt struggle to handle a bunch of Jess’ socialite friends. In what I consider the peak cringe moment of the movie, the siblings are forced to kiss these women. Anyway, they somehow manage to escape and end up at the party, where the family actually has fun together, but in different bodies. During all these, Rolf has his own work cut out as he has been given the responsibility of Miles and Pickles.
How Do The Walkers Fix Everything?
Thanks to Wyatt, the family manages to figure out that the only way to fix things is to get to the planetarium before the planetary alignment ends on Christmas Eve. But there’s one hitch, which is the broken lens. However, Wyatt does manage to convince one of his nerdy internet friends, Spock (a clear tribute to the legendary Leonard Nimoy, hopefully).
But before that, the family has to get through another day, and this time, they decide to make it count. Upon getting another chance at the presentation, CC goes to her mother’s office again, but this time, she is smart enough to take all the assists from Jess’ team to make a presentation that gives Jess a fighting chance. From her mother’s colleague, CC also gets to know how proudly Jess always shares CC’s achievements as a soccer star. In a very similar manner, Jess performs really well as CC in a math test, but she also finds out from the teacher that CC has been showing real signs of improvement in her studies as well. While the mother-daughter duo comes to the realization that there is actually no love lost between them, the father-son duo doesn’t immediately have the same fate. At a rock concert, which is supposedly supposed to be Bill’s big moment, Wyatt finds out that his father actually gave up on a career as a successful musician when he was born. He feels really guilty about it (and presumably for seeing his father as an inferior human being compared to him). However, Bill makes it a point to console his son by telling him that he absolutely doesn’t regret sacrificing his career to be with his son. And he actually means it. Still inside his father’s body, Wyatt surprises everyone with an incredible performance on the stage, where Bill, CC, and Jess all join in. At the end of the concert, Jess receives the good news of getting the project and becoming a partner at her firm. Wyatt also receives the all-important lens from Spock, who turns out to be the only person who realizes what actually happened to the Walkers.
After a lot of insane driving by Wyatt as Bill, the Walker family reaches the planetarium right on time. Sadly, though, thanks to another freak accident, Wyatt slips, and the lens gets broken again after falling from his hand. But Angelica has always blessed them with a Christmas miracle outside, so they soon find out that Pickles had the actual lens all along. The planet aligns back to its previous position, but nothing changes for the Walker family. Sad and confused, but now, united as ever, the Walkers return home. On the next morning, they all return to their own bodies. It’s not too hard to understand that it was not the lens, but what they really needed was unity amongst them. Angelica can be seen as a modern interpretation of fate, who has always nudged the family in the right direction. In what we can consider a short epilogue, CC is visited by the national scout again, who breaks the news of her getting an opportunity with the national team, which only happened for showing good moral character on the field. Wyatt also gets another opportunity with Ariana. Things also seem to be much better and more adventurous with Bill and Jess as well. Family Switch doesn’t end with the possibility of a sequel, but another movie with the same family might not be a bad idea. I am just saying!