Hollywood and directors have always been fascinated with the ol’ switcheroo.
Characters changing places. Moms in Freaky Friday (twice over). Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin in All of Me and it’s happened in unusual ways.
Call it a sign of the vulgarian times, but it had never been done it the midst of two bros making a wish and taking a whiz together – until The Change-Up that is.
That’s how buds Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (Jason Bateman) switch bodies and lives in this gross-out comedy. With a premise like that you know that positively anything and everything is fair game for this exercise in silliness with a message.
Each guy thinks the other has it made in their respective life. Mitch is that carefree dude in a state of arrested development who has little interest in growing up. Dave, not surprisingly, is just the opposite. A successful lawyer who is married to the beautiful Jamie (Leslie Mann) and the father of three kids, he’s the epitome of stability. Each, however, is also bored. So on a fateful night while they’re out boozing, their wish is granted.
Each freaks out at the prospect of having to live the other’s life initially. Mitch quickly learns how difficult it is dealing with life as a family man. All of a sudden he’s the father of twin toddlers and a six-year-old and he has to deal with his buddy’s career as a mergers and acquistions lawyer.
Nevermind that he gets a speedy lesson in dealing with the realities of marriage and sexuality, having to balance over desire for Jamie with the fact that she’s extremely free when it comes to information related to bodily functions.
Dave on the other hand learns just how much of a cretin his best bud is. His tastes and fetishes related to women prove a bit eclectic to say the least and he doesn’t really know how to deal with the fact that his friend is a slacker willing to do lorno (light porn) for a buck.
It’s in those moments and revelations that The Change-Up is at its best as a comedy. It can be positively uproarious and produces more than its share of grimaces in the process. The humor proves lowbrow, but it also in the case of Dave and Jamie’s relationship, the realities can be seen. It’s those moments that save the film from its baser instincts – barely.
It’s not difficult to predict where The Change-Up will end. Director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Shanghai Knights) uses those realistic moments to try to keep things fresh and it works some of the time. But he wisely understands where the movie’s strength lies and that’s with Bateman and Reynolds who show an easy chemistry with one another.
Rude? Sure. Crude? Definitely? But The Change-up has its moments of pure hilarity, but a strong stomach is required.
Movie: The Change-Up
Director: David Dobkin
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann
Rated: R (strong crude language, strong crude sexual content, some grapic nudity and drug use)
Running time: 1 hour 52 minutes
Check for theaters and showtimes at ClevelandCinemas.com, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com