‘The Swap’ is the newest Disney Channel Original Movie which premiered as one of the lowest rated DCOM premieres in recent memory on the Disney Channel to a total of 2.64 million viewers. However, the film is better than what the ratings suggest.
‘The Swap’ follows two teenagers, Ellie (Peyton List) who is an incredible rhythmic gymnast, while Jack (Jacob Bertrand) is a skilled hockey player. The two trade lives with each other through the magic of texting, with Ellie now in Jack’s body and Jack in Ellie’s body, and the two must learn through tough family relationship dynamics after thinking each other has the easiest way of life.
‘The Swap’ is pretty simple, a body switching movie that we’ve seen from time to time again, like ‘Freaky Friday’ as an example. What makes it different is what the filmmakers do with this simple concept. While it is very far from perfection, it has many flaws that hinders this film’s mighty potential. The film’s body switching technique through texting on their mobile phones with external blue and pink mystical forces to switch their lives as they text each others “deals” seems strange, but in the end, in my opinion is surprisingly a good choice as it builds conflict and makes Ellie and Jack confront each other about what they’ve learned. It works better in the third act, than it does in the first act.
The film is without trying, there are moments are heart toward these characters that reach their emotional confrontation like the scene between Jack and his father that seems real thanks to that scene’s writing and some fine acting from the two actors. Both characters have an emotional weight to them thanks to their one of their parents. Ellie goes through a father that abandoned her, while Jack is dealing with the loss of his mother, and both characters go through this burden very well, while trying desperately to move on and break this curse of being in the wrong body.
However, while having some good points, the film is often goofy with characters and some over-the-top acting, but while you say “well it’s a television movie, what you expect?” My answer will be “there are many movies where the goofy side is turned down to a 3 or a 4, while this film seems to be on an 8”. The film suffers from some bad humour that really just came across as cheesy and goofy which made it seem “super acka-obvious”, while generating only a handful of giggles from time to time.
‘The Swap’ isn’t the greatest DCOM, but it isn’t the worst either, as it falls down in the middle. It does provide some meaningful messages towards family, and especially friendship, and I found myself enjoying the film as it progressed along, especially improving itself from its weak first act.