Family Switch's Jennifer Garner & Ed Helms Explain Why Their Kiss Was So Awkward

Streaming Netflix

family switch's jennifer garner & ed helms explain why their kiss was so awkward
Elizabeth Morris/Netflix

The first on-screen kiss may go back to the 19th century, but has it truly been perfected? Awkward on-screen kisses still persist in Hollywood, whether it is due to behind-the-scenes drama or the scourge of bad breath. In “Family Switch,” Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms kept their kiss all in the family, so to speak, resulting in one of the cringiest kisses in recent memory.

“Family Switch,” which hit Netflix on November 30, adds a fantastical twist to the Christmas season. When the Walker family can’t stop bickering, a meddling astrologist, played by Rita Moreno, gives them a true out-of-body experience. The dad, Bill (Helms), and son, Wyatt (Brady Noon), switch bodies, as do mother and daughter Jess (Garner) and CC (Emma Myers). Even Miles the Baby and Pickles the French Bulldog have a body swap of their own.

In one scene, Jess’ friends demand that she and her husband share a kiss. The only problem? They’ve already switched bodies, meaning the siblings have to smooch. “There’s so many layers of terrible awkwardness,” Helms told People. “Yeah, that was a very funny one. I think we blew a bunch of takes on that one.”

Garner added, “If I were in my mom’s body kissing my dad, I’m kissing my dad, and I’m also kissing my brother because my brother is in my dad’s body. There’s so much wrong with it.”

Body swapping is a tried and true genre

family switch's jennifer garner & ed helms explain why their kiss was so awkward
Colleen Hayes/Netflix

“Family Switch” is the latest entry in the body-swapping genre, and the film wears its influences on its sleeve. In one sequence, the family members articulate their predicament while subtly ratting off some body-swap greats.

“I mean, no kid has ever just woken up big,” says Wyatt, now stuck in Bill’s body. Bill responds, “Yeah, so freaky,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to “Freaky Friday.” “You’re telling me,” says Jess. “I’m 17 again.” Then CC delivers the cherry on top, as Jennifer Garner fans will appreciate: “I’m 13 going on 30!”

Making “Family Switch” hit different for Ed Helms, who has children of his own. “[I] found myself thinking about what my kids were going through and how they might be thinking,” he continued in the same People interview. “That’s why the body-swap premise is so timeless — because it asks the audience to think more about the people we’re close to and the ways we connect and disconnect. I hope people take a little more perspective out of this movie. But also chuckles.”

The unfortunate kiss offers chuckles in spades, highlighting the body language and physical comedy that goes into acting like teenagers, siblings, and spouses all at once. “I feel like we both broke a lot,” Helms said. Garner added, “You cannot put me in a scene with Ed Helms and expect me not to break. I’m sorry. That’s not going to happen.”

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