JASON BATEMAN RYAN REYNOLDS LESLIE MANN OLIVIA WILDE ALAN ARKIN
THE CHANGE UP
From the director of Shanghai Knights and The Wedding Crashers… yes, it’s that bad. The first problem, even before you get out of the trailer, is the amount of times this movie has already been made; “switching bodies”, for some reason, is a concept Hollywood thinks will always work or that audience never tire of. What we haven’t seen is a body switching movie this raunchy. While Judd Apatow’s name is nowhere to be found (thank heavens), his wife, Leslie Mann, is baring all for this one. Fresh off the catastrophe known as Green Lantern, Reynolds returns to his Van Wilder character while Batemen shows us a freckled part of his body no one ever wanted to see.
While polar opposite best friends Mitch (Reynolds) and Dave (Bateman) are peeing in a fountain, they wish they had each other’s lives. The next morning, when Dave expects to wake up at 6:45am with his loving wife Jamie (Mann) and screaming infants, he instead finds himself not only at Mitch’s apartment, but in his muscular body. Mitch, on the other hand, wakes up in terror, in Dave’s body. They try to explain what’s happened, but Jamie doesn’t believe them and the fountain needed to undo this spell has been conveniently relocated. So they try to hold each other’s lives together, but Mitch as Dave just causes lots of trouble at his prestigious law firm with his vulgar and inappropriate behavior. While Dave in Mitch’s body gets to relax and live a little.
In less than two minutes of the movie beginning, before the opening title even, Bateman has green baby poop, fresh from the baby's CGI twitching butt, in his mouth; it looks more like fresh pesto than any poop I have ever seen. The poop jokes continue throughout the film with both Mitch and Jamie. Vulgar catch phrases from Reynolds, very similar to his early work, like “I’d like to strap you to my face and say the alphabet” are so retarded that I again wonder how movies like this get made. The Mitch character is beyond any similarity to a real person, which I suppose is part of the gag. The lowest point of the movie is when one infant manages to turn the blender on and stick his hand inside while the other pulls out a meat cleaver and hurls it into the wall (mind you these babies can’t speak, potty or feed themselves).
Of course, after the raunchiness settles down, the third half kicks into self reflection; how the characters in each other's bodies begin to learn what people really think about them and how they are both then determined to be better people. Give me a break! You can’t throw all that filthy material in there and then try to have redeeming moral substance with Jamie crying because her marriage is falling apart. No sir, it doesn’t work that way. The best scene in the film (which is not saying much at all) is a brief scene where, for the first time, we see Dave (in Mitch’s body) enjoying simple things he seemed to have missed out because of his dedication to being successful. Reynolds is just a bad actor; this is Bateman’s movie, but it just isn’t a good one. Nothing is funny and if you are laughing at this, it’s because you want to laugh and not because it's humorous.
Final Thought – This concept has been done so many times, the only real change up here is the raunch factor.
By: Dustin Chase W. Editor: Michael Woody
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
To like this movie one would have to like its basic premise, that people can exchange bodies and live the life of another. To me, this is a tired movie plot that should never have gotten started, but according to one of the cast members, the filmmakers not only like that movie theme, but wanted to make one that was R rated. Perhaps the changing-bodies routine is a fantasy harbored by those who really want to be someone else.
Another distasteful element in the story to me is the idea that a loser could sit at the desk of a top-notch attorney and not only pull it off, but make millions of dollars for the company to boot. I’m puzzled about what goes through viewers’ mind as they watch such a farce and find it funny. And is it really fun to watch a parent’s face get splattered with pooh, to see infants plopped on a kitchen counter where they can fall off, play with knives, and put their fingers in electrical outlets? Strangely to me, the audience at the screening was laughing throughout. Hmmm.
The acting by Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, and Leslie Mann is good, but the script is woefully lacking in freshness and ingenuity. The nude scenes are clearly thrown in to titillate the audience, and the fakeness of the bodies (at least Leslie Mann’s and Tatiana’s) is grotesque. Leslie Mann joked with an interviewer who asked her how she could show her breasts, to which, she laughingly replied that she could “grow” them. I presume the make-up department or body doubles had big roles in this movie. Movie-goers who like this kind of humor, go for it; others should beware.
Dr. Donna R. Copeland
This man-about-town is a new role for Gosling. I’m thinking of his previous films, The Believer, Half Nelson, and most recently, Blue Valentine. Here, he is distinctly authoritative even when seducing women, and presents as the polar opposite of Cal. How these two men interact with one another and evolve across time is not only entertaining, but constitutes a major part of the story.
The newly found love interests/lusts of the three main characters are cleverly played by Kevin Bacon, Marissa Tomei, and Emma Stone. The younger actors—Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo, and Joey King—are impressive in their ability to blend in with the skills of the more experienced group.
As an engaging comedy with some substance to it, this is a good production, and should do very well at the box office.
Grade B Dr. Donna R. Copeland