Do you remember Freaky Friday? You know, Jaime Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan switch bodies and have to adapt to each other’s lifestyles while learning more about themselves in the process? Yeah, I didn’t really like it either, but that sums up what The Change Up is about. Somewhere, deep in a dusty, bored conference room, someone said, “I bet we could make a Freaky Friday for guys.” Poof! The Change Up.
Justin Bateman and Ryan Reynolds play two childhood friends, Dave and Mitch, who eventually grew apart. Dave never stopped pushing himself: going to college, getting married and having kids, getting a good job and a big house. Mitch on the other hand, resigned into a life of casual sex, smoking pot and playing video games. Finally deciding to meet and catch up, Dave and Mitch binge drink, talk about their lives and how much it sucks to be them. After stumbling out into the streets and needing a place to pee, they relieve themselves in a fountain while wishing they had each other’s lives. Little did they know, it was a vengeful, spirited fountain! Really, I just gave you the long version of the plot. It can be surmised into: two friends piss in a magic fountain, switch bodies and raunchy antics ensue. Marriages become strained, careers are placed in jeopardy and pot is consumed at about the same rate.
Both Bateman and Reynolds usually play the same type of character in all of their movies. Bateman is the straight man, being the hardworking and honest type. Reynolds is usually playing the suave, sarcastic ladykiller. While the movie starts with the actors playing their usual niche, the body switch also required them to play the opposite of their characters. Sadly, the personality switch doesn’t shine in this situation. Reynolds played the character switch well enough, but Bateman couldn’t quite pull of the “Don’t-Give-A-Shit” style. It seemed forced, slinging out curse words in place of convincing lines. Leslie Mann, playing Dave’s wife, did a well enough job as the worried, confused wife. There really wasn’t much depth to her character, making it difficult to pay a lot of attention to her role. Alan Arkin makes a brief and entertaining appearance as Mitch’s father, but only has a handful of scenes. Olivia Wilde also plays the love interest for Ryan Reynolds, but doesn’t contribute much to the plot aside from being the sexy legal assistant. Aside from the main few characters, there were very few other notable actors and actresses. Mostly, it was just wacky side characters, like the pregnant sexual deviant or the plastic surgery monster of a pornstar.
I’ve got to bring up one of the biggest surprises about this movie: the humor is completely different from what I was expecting. I was thinking I would get another comedy with style, quick wit or genuinely funny situations. Sadly, The Change Up relies on gross out gags, slapstick and crudeness to get cheap laughs. The film isn’t without actual laughs, but they are hidden away by the quantity of poop jokes that are thrown at you. It felt as if the script was written by a couple of 14 year-olds. It may be rated for 17 and up, but the maturity level is much lower than that.
Overall, The Change Up doesn’t bring much to the table. Compared to the other summer comedies that have come out this summer, this is the weak link so far. Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses fly past this movie. Strangely enough, The Change Up flies right past movies like Marmaduke and Zoo Keeper. So, I’m finding it hard to suggest seeing this movie. I suppose that if you happen to have a babysitter and your cable is out…..and you legally can’t go anywhere but the movie theater, then you should see The Change Up. Otherwise, there are plenty of better choices out there this summer.
I give The Change Up 3.5 “Outraged Japanese Businessmen” out of 5
By Blake Edwards