Movie Review - The Change-Up

The Change-Up is a body swapping buddy comedy from writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover) and directed by David Dobkin (The Wedding Crashers). Aside from informing you that the film stars Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, there's not much else you need to know.

School yard buddies, Dave Lockwood (Bateman) and Mitch Planko (Reynolds) are envious of each others lives. Dave is a successful yet overworked lawyer and father of three. Constantly on the go, he longs for the freedom available to Mitch through his unemployed, pot smoking lifestyle. They go on a big night out, grumbling about how they wish they could swap lives. They do this while peeing into a magical fountain then, badda-bing, badda-boom, they wake up in each others bodies.

What follows is a series of gross out scenes of farting, projectile poop, randy pregnant women and overall awkwardness. From the get-go, Bateman is Bateman and Reynolds is Reynolds. Neither one of them spread their wings a great deal. That is until the body swap when Bateman manages to pull off a great Reynolds impersonation and seemed to have fun with not being Michael Bluth for once. Reynolds on the other hand doesn't seem to channel Bateman and instead plays a generic nerdy wuss. Bateman's wife is played by Leslie Mann, who apparently plays the same character as in Knocked Up and a grown up version of her character in 40 Year Old Version. That said, she is a barrel of laughs. Olivia Wilde is Bateman's saucy legal assistant and really offers nothing more. Wilde seems to falling into the 'eye candy event horizon'. After this film, Cowboys & Aliens and Tron: Legacy it feels as though she's being cast as the pretty thing in the corner.

The Change-Up is what it is. Don't expect anything overly touching or high brow comedy. If you just want to go to the movies for a giggle, The Change-Up may be your thing. It's a gross out comedy with heavy language and a fair share of exposed breasts, all of which looked to be prosthetic or CGI. In retrospect, I initial judged this film too harshly. It doesn't pretend to be anything but what it is, a body swapping buddy comedy with comic sensibilities which are entirely low brow and in no way do I mean this as an insult.

The family scenes with Bateman, Mann and their brood are frank and somewhat off-putting. That said, family life is just that. When studying your own life it is not as glamorous as the movies would have you believe. There are annoying idiosyncrasies and disgusting habits that, to an outsider, would be nothing short of vulgar. The Change-Up actually nailed in this respect. It managed to show how awful family life can be while reminding you that you wouldn't change it for anything.

The Change-Up is in theatres today.


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