“The CHANGE – UP” (Jason Bateman & Ryan Reynolds)
So what would happen if you took a tired, lame Disney-esque plot and filled it full of filthy humor, nudity and characters that don’t seem like cardboard cut-outs of all the other ‘body changing’ films? You get a surprisingly funny movie that catches you off guard, even though you are very aware of how over-used and moronic the entire premise of the film is. “The Change-Up” is the story of two best buddies, Dave (Bateman) and Mitch (Reynolds) who are as different as night and day; Dave is a successful lawyer, working feverishly to make partner at the law firm he toils at to better provide for his family in a monetary way – and Mitch; an unemployed pot smoking womanizer with about as much finesse as a chimpanzee with handful of feces. The only thing slacker Mitch envies about Dave’s life is his lovely and tolerant wife, Janice (Leslie Mann, who shockingly shows her nearly perfect breasts, all in the name of comedy) Janice, on the other hand, wishes Dave would cut Mitch out of his life for good.
During an evening of over-imbibing, Dave and Mitch find themselves urinating into a fountain with an angelic-like statue looking down on them. As they converse they say simultaneously, “I wish I had your life.” The next morning, Mitch wakes up in Dave’s bed inside of Dave’s body & vice-versa...
Even though there’s plenty of disgusting toilet humor (Can anyone make an R-Rated comedy these days without it?) ‘The Change Up’ features enough laugh out loud moments that it challenges ‘Hall Pass’ as the 3rd best comedy of 2011.
Prime example; Slacker Mitch inhabiting Dave’s body has to get through a very important meeting for Dave to stay on track to becoming a partner in the firm – Dave’s extremely hot assistant, Sabrina (Olivia Wilde) tells him, “I’ll have my briefs on your desk before lunch.” Mitch – looking & sounding like the normally gentlemanly Dave – replies, “And I’ll have my balls on your chin by dinner.”
Yes, it’s sophomoric, but that is a funny line and when it comes from a character that would never speak that way to any woman it takes you by surprise.
The funny thing is – whichever character is playing Mitch is the actor having the most fun and spouting the best lines. I never thought Ryan Reynolds could make me laugh, but he does in the early going here, and he does it several times.
Even when it slips into cornball schmaltz as Mitch ‘grows up’ as Dave and sincerely tries to save his best friend’s job and marriage, ‘The Change-Up’ still worked for me. Not every bit struck the right chords, but enough of them do so that the tired toilet junk and the search to find the relocated fountain doesn’t spoil the over-all good time you’ll have while watching ‘The Change-Up’.
All I can say is Jason Bateman is on a roll, with ‘Horrible Bosses’ one of the 2 best comedies and this one in the Top 4, I’m actually looking forward to his next project... And I never thought I’d write something like that!