By Bret Dorman
The ‘body swap’ plot device is usually used in kids movies. That’s because it’s stupid and kids don’t know any better. And once every 10 years there’s a whole new generation of young morons out there who want to see the latest body swap movie because they don’t know any better.
Well The Change-Up is designed for adults. And adults know better.
The Story: Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) is a silly goofy actor who doesn’t take anything seriously. Dave (Jason Bateman) is a serious business man with a big deal coming up. Then they switch bodies! Oh no! Mishaps! Also, Olivia Wilde is not only super hot but very much into ‘guy’ things like Baseball which makes her the super ideal woman!
Body Swap movies are just a notch below Mistaken Identity on my movie plots that are stupid. Here is what I don’t like, you put two very opposing people in each others bodies and that is just a lazy excuse to make lazy comedy. The silly man isn’t good at being a lawyer and the married man isn’t good at having sex with freaky ladies! Tehehehehehehehehehehehehe!
It’s absolutely ridiculous that Mitch would go into a meeting as Dave and act as stupid as he does. The Mitch -> Dave switch is the worst part of this movie. It’s not funny. At all. And his interactions with Jamie (Leslie Mann) are very mean-spirited. Yay! Let’s make a married woman cry! That’ll be funny!
Speaking of which, this movie, for being a stupid comedy where people switch bodies while drunkenly peeing into a fountain, takes some very serious sharp turns. I don’t mind drama in comedies, but not silly goofball comedies or dramatic pulls with characters I don’t care about.
The Dave -> Mitch switch is a little better. At first he has to do some very gross stuff that Mitch seems to enjoy during his normal day. It’s easy comedy but its still pretty funny to see what situations Mitch has already scheduled and Dave must now deal with. At least the way he deals with them aren’t as insulting as Mitch -> Dave going into a meeting and immediately dropping a bunch of F-Bombs and asking what the problem is when everyone is upset at his unprofessionality.
I also don’t like how at the end of the movie, they decide to not switch bodies because they just love the other persons life SO much! Then two scenes later they both realize it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to them and rush to switch back! The fact that Dave -> Mitch was so open to committing adultery when he was so against it just because some girl (Olivia Wilde) is kind of cool is insulting. He loved his wife very much and went out of his way to say that several times and then all that disappeared because some girl (Olivia Wilde) had tickets to a baseball game?
I do like how Reynolds and Bateman set up specific (and yet generic) traits that the other person could latch on to for the switch. They played the other person very well, but its sad that on a script level Mitch’s biggest ‘thing’ is how much he swears. It was funnier to see Dave -> Mitch try to swear than it was for Mitch – > Dave swear a lot.
The movie isn’t completely devoid of laughs. There are funny moments. But these moments were things that are funny in every movie. I wasn’t as appalled by the ethics of this movie as I was by the ethics of Bad Teacher, but I didn’t like the laziness of ‘let’s not switch! wait let’s switch back right now!’ and how lame/easy the humor was throughout.
In Conclusion, if you are 8 years old and love body swap movies then by all means try to get your hands on a copy of The Change-Up because the ‘humor’ and rated R-ness of the movie will be completely awesome and mind blowing. If you are 8 years old and expect more from your comedies then by all means go with a Pixar film. If you are an adult looking for a comedy, I suggest a Pixar film as well.
Final Grade: D