Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Change-Up (2011)

Body switch comedies over the last 10 years have mostly become cliched messes. However this time around, we have a film that puts a new spin on the genre with the r-rated raunchy form with The Change-Up. Before I start the main bulk of my review, though, I must say that I have only seen the Freaky Friday remake out of all of the body switch comedies out there. The Change-Up however, actually delivers its promise that it puts a new spin on this genre with crazy situations combined with both sheer ridiculousness and often hardcore raunchiness.

Dave (Jason Bateman) is workaholic lawyer who's close to achieving partner status at his firm, but he can't catch a break in his personal life outside of work because of taking care of his three kids and wife (Leslie Mann). Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) on the other hand, is the total opposite of Dave. He's a definitive slacker trying to kick-start his acting career which hasn't taken him too far in the direction he wants it to be in. The two finally get a night to hang out together at a bar to watch an Atlanta Braves game (who are actually my favorite MLB team since I was 7) and they get too drunk which leads to them peeing in a "magical fountain" that performs the "body switch" on them when they both say at the same time that they wish they had each others lives. And what ensues is an extremely insane and raunchy comedy that sure stands alone in its genre for now.
For a body switch comedy to work consistently, you need two actors that need to have great chemistry together and say their lines with spot-on delivery. And surprisingly, Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds are both fantastic in their roles. For the first twenty minutes of the film, Bateman is playing his Arrested Development character he's been doing in the majority of the films he's starred in, while Reynolds is the foul-mouthed, wisecracking slacker. However once the body switch occurs, Jason Bateman commands this film. It's so rare to see him play a more edgy role than the other films he's starred in before, and you can tell that he fully embraces this opportunity he's given from the very moments Reynolds' character becomes him. And Ryan Reynolds also manages to do a decent job as Jason Bateman's character, too. Leslie Mann also has several comedic moments and she plays over-the-top well for scenes that are meant to be over-serious until they end with a comedic payoff. Olivia Wilde is hotter than ever with darker hair and before I begin to sound anymore like a drooling 13 year-old talking about her, I have to say that she displayed some good comedic chops on screen as well, and she also had good chemistry with Ryan Reynolds. However I think Alan Arkin's character could've been written out of the film because his scenes just don't really do justice to anything that happens in the film and they feel very out of place.

David Dobkin does a decent job directing this film, even though the tones switch so quick between lighthearted comedy and extreme raunchiness. At least he's doing himself justice with this film from what he did by taking a step back when he directed Fred Claus in 2007. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (writers of The Hangover) pile on the cliches of this genre but make up for them by cooking up some very insane comedic set pieces, especially scenes involving a  lawyer's meeting and when Jason Bateman deals with the twins in his family. Some moments in the script seem to stretch too far on the gross humor at times and there are points in those gross out gags where they just drag out for too long. In addition, the ending scenes are dragged out for a little too long as well.
The Change-Up is definitely not the best comedy I've seen this year, but it's still  a very entertaining and funny spin on the body switch comedy genre. Thanks to the brilliant chemistry between Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds along with some of the most insane comedy moments I have seen this year, The Change-Up is a slightly flawed but still very funny film, however I wouldn't recommend it being a date movie because of some of its gross out gags. From the opening scene alone, I might have second thoughts of having kids in the future.

Final Grade: B


  1. Good review, Tyler. I'll probably rent this on DVD when it comes out.

  2. great review, Tyler. I like Bateman and Reynolds, so i'll most likely give this one a shot