Watched Aug 05, 2012
James Rodrigues’s review:
Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) is an overworked lawyer and family man who feels his life is horrible. Mitch Planko Jr. (Ryan Reynolds) is an actor with practically no job and does nothing but get high all day. Mitch, who feels that he and Dave have been drifting apart over the years, makes plans for him and Dave to go to a bar and watch a football game. Dave is jealous of Mitch's life, as he feels that he grew up too fast and wishes to experience the care-free life that Mitch has. Mitch tells Dave that he is jealous of the loving family and financially stable job Dave has acquired. While urinating into a fountain, they simultaneously wish that they had each other lives. The next morning, they both awake to find they have swapped bodies.
The body-swap comedy films have always been a formulaic and kiddy-friendly to PG-13 genre. Considering this film is from the director of Wedding Crashers and the writers of The Hangover, it's no surprise that The Change-Up strays into R rated territory, whilst managing to stay formulaic.
Ryan Reynolds seems to be on autopilot while playing the crude Mitch, and Jason Bateman plays the same role he always plays while in the role of the overworked Dave. But when the two swap bodies, that's when things get interesting. It's entertaining to see Bateman going against type and playing the crude star who parades his shaved balls around, makes inappropriate comments and leaves babies in places where they should not be, while Reynolds plays it well as an overworked man who's learning to cut loose and enjoy life the way he didn't before in his previous body.
While the writing for a body-swapped Bateman and Reynolds is fun to watch, everything else is poorly written. The story goes nowhere unexpected, giving predictable moments seen many times in many different films. One note is the best description I can give of the characters. The director and the writers seem to base the humor on the idea that the cruder, the better, as projectile feces and unneeded swearing are integrated into scenes.
While it is fun to see the two stars play against type, that isn't enough to carry the film through its by the numbers plot, one-note characters and overtly crude humor.