This Is How ‘Family Switch’ Brings an Original Twist to the Body Swap Trope


The Big Picture

  • Netflix’s new holiday movie, Family Switch, brings a unique twist to the body swap trope with a six-way switch among family members.
  • Director McG faced the challenge of finding the right comedy in the editing process, carefully choosing frames and material from the talented ensemble cast.
  • Weezer makes an appearance in the film, with director McG revealing his long-time obsession with the band and his excitement about including them in the movie.

Netflix’s new holiday movie, Family Switch, is making a unique play on the tried-and-true body swap trope. From director McG (The Babysitter), the story is based on Amy Krouse‘s bestselling children’s book, Bedtime for Mommy, and stars Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms, Emma Myers, and Brady Noon in a heartfelt comedy that Collider’s Tania Hussain says is “a stocking full of laughs.”

It was that comedy that McG tells editor-in-chief Steve Weintraub was the most challenging element to pin down in the editing room. Bringing a “twist of originality” to the trope was easy by doing “a six-way switch – baby/dog, mom/daughter, dad/son,” but nailing all the right jokes came down to choosing the right frames and the right material from his ensemble cast. In Family Switch, just days before Christmas, Jess (Garner) and Bill (Helms) Walker want to bring their family together before they grow apart. Their teens, CC (Myers) and Wyatt (Noon) are busy with extracurriculars and preparing for a Yale interview, but when Jess tries to force a happy memory on them, the planets align and a mysterious astrology reader, played by Rita Moreno, snaps a photo, leading to one of the most bizarre days of their lives. No one, including the family dog Pickles and their toddler Miles, is safe!

During their conversation, McG discusses his career from directing music videos like Smash Mouth‘s “All Star,” to working with Netflix, and why he tries to bring something colorful and magical to all his projects. In the movie, Helms’ character gets to rock out with Weezer, and the director shares how he got the band on board, why we don’t get any new songs from them, and why body swap movies resonate so much with audiences. Check it all out in the video above, or you can read the full transcript down below!

Family Switch

When a chance encounter with an astrological reader causes the Walkers to wake up to a full body switch, can they unite to land a promotion, college interview, record deal, and soccer tryout?

Release Date
November 30, 2023


Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms, Emma Myers, Brady Noon, Rita Moreno, Matthias Schweighöfer, Bashir Salahuddin, Fortune Feimster, Xosha Roquemore, Paul Scheer, Andrew Bachelor, Pete Holmes, Naomi Ekperigin, Dan Finnerty, Cyrus Arnold


101 minutes

Main Genre

Victoria Strouse, Adam Sztykiel

COLLIDER: You’ve done a lot of stuff in your career. You’ve produced a lot of stuff, you’ve directed a lot of stuff. If someone has actually never seen anything you’ve done before, what is the first thing you’d like them starting with and why?

McG: The “All Star” video by Smash Mouth.

That changed your life.

McG: A little bit, yeah. I don’t know, there’s a throughline of a dream where I came from a very, very average life and I dreamed about things that were larger and more exciting than my own life. I liked colorful, magical, big things because I was living a humdrum existence, so I tried to bring that to the music and the music videos and the commercials and the movies and television shows, and that’s what you get.

Getting Weezer for ‘Family Switch’


Jumping into why I get to talk to you, I was watching the film and I’m like, “Wait a minute,” as I’m watching, “That’s Rivers. Wait a minute. This is Weezer.” So, let’s talk about Weezer because I love the band. How did you get them in the movie?

McG: Well, I’ve been stalking them ever since “The Sweater Song” [in ‘92], and [I’ve been] secretly completely obsessed with that band and they never really let me in. They sort of did all their stuff with Spike Jonze, who’s infinitely cooler than I am, and they were wise to choose Spike over me. But I saw my opportunity and I grabbed it. I’m very pleased that we call Rivers’ character’s name in the film Lake, so for those of you paying a closer look, you’ll get a little pleasure out of that, that you see young Brady Noon screaming, “I’m trying, Lake!” right in the middle of it. That’s just something I enjoy.

How much did you debate actually having a Weezer song in the movie? I don’t think there is one in the film, or maybe I’m wrong.

McG: They liked the idea of covering a Christmas song, and he’s just such a prolific writer. He was coming back from a two-week silent retreat, that Rivers Cuomo, which I’d expect nothing else from my Rivers. And yeah, they were happy to do that. They jammed all the while with Ed Helms who was playing guitar, and occasionally banjo, and doing his thing, and Jen was singing. The fun that you feel in that scene in the movie, we were having that much fun on the day shooting it.

Finding the Comedy in the Edit

McG instructing Jennfier Garner and Emma Myers on the set of Family Switch
Image via Netflix

You know I like talking about the editing process, so how did this film change in the editing room in ways you didn’t expect going in?

McG: I think people underestimate how hard it is to find comedy. You, as an aficionado of editing, do you know that. Releasing the joke and getting to the place where people overtly laugh is a matter of frames in the editorial process. And it’s ironic because if you look at the comedians, most comedians are great dramatic actors. Rarely are dramatic actors funny. Comedy doesn’t get a lot of respect in our town, and I think it’s one of the most difficult things to achieve. So, the editorial process has everything to do with finding where the joke is and getting to the funny, and hopefully there are a few giggles along the way with this one.

Yeah, it’s funny you mentioned that because, when it comes to the award season, everyone just forgets about comedies and how difficult they are to actually pull off. It’s like they’re like, “Oh, those are easy, it’s only the dramatic that we can applaud.”

McG: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s gonna be curious when we get the Best Picture nod over May December.

[Laughs] Yes. Absolutely.

McG: Don’t tell Natalie [Portman].

Why Do We Love Body Swap Movies So Much?

Right. So, there have obviously been a lot of body switch movies in the past. When you’re getting ready to film this, are you watching those or are you purposely avoiding them?

McG: No, I devour all of them. And the funny thing is, I ask you as a huge film fan – we both are – can you name one you don’t like? They’re all pretty good. Some are better than others, but they’re all pretty doggone good. And I’m really big into Jungian archetypes, and I’ve got to believe there’s just something deep down in the psyche of us as human beings where we’re obsessed with the idea of what it’s like to walk a mile in each other’s shoes. Our contribution to that was a six-way switch – baby/dog, mom/daughter, dad/son. Hopefully that adds a twist of originality and makes it all worthwhile.

Family Switch is available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.

Watch on Netflix


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