Director: David Dobkin
Writer: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann and Alan Arkin
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Dave and Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) are old friends with opposite lifestyles that predictably wish they could have what the other has. Dave has been an achiever all through his life and never stopped to enjoy himself in the ways of drugs and women, for example. That would be typical bachelor Mitch’s life. Mitch, on the other hand, would love for even a modicum of success and stability. Plug in a magic fountain activated by two different simultaneous urine streams and voila — body-swapping comedy.
Thus begins the journey of the two friends toward the inevitable learning not to take for granted the lives they have. To be fair, Lucas and Moore write in some scenes that break convention. Early on, for example, there’s the scene when they try and convince Dave’s wife (Leslie Mann) that they’ve switched bodies by telling her to ask Dave (in Mitch’s body) a question only he would know. Seen that before, right? Rather than she predictably believing them, things take a comic turn when Dave reveals a very private detail about her.
The whole ride isn’t a roller coaster of do-whatever-it-wants as it eventually turns into a safer formula that takes a lighter stroll for the latter portion where there is room for character learning and growth and things are more content. The original Dave character wants to make partner in the law firm he’s worked so hard to get to, but at the same time doesn’t have time for his wife. Jamie (Leslie Mann) has some funny and also serious scenes from uncertainty setting in with her “new” husband but that’s not to say there weren’t issues beforehand. The original Mitch character is always running away from finishing anything that he starts and uses the opportunity to hopefully rectify himself if that’s even possible. Olivia Wilde shows with interest on both fronts as Sabrina: a pretty face that works in the law firm. Dave wanted her before the switch, and Mitch being Dave, being his sneaky perverted self, says they should go out and she turns out to be much different than the conservative lady she appears in the office.
Though not given much original or engaging material to work with, the actors in Change-Up put on a brave face, and actually seem to have fun with the material. Jason Bateman does his usual solid turn as the “straight” man, and after switching bodies with Ryan Reynolds’ foul-mouthed dropout character, relishes the opportunity to go beyond his usual typecast everyman. The problem with Reynolds’ character is that he is neither interesting or particularly likable, mostly due to the ineptitude of the writers. Reynolds and Bateman are both perfectly smarmy and manic as the Mitch character, yet it’s extremely difficult for the audience to cheer for him. He claims to be a womanizer, and enough of one that Bateman’s character, Dave, envies his prowess; yet, all we see Mitch do in the early-going is wake up late, smoke weed, and mope around because of his father’s impending marriage to wife number five or six.
True, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for someone like me who loves a good R-rated comedy, it’s definitely worth going to. In a way, it plays out in the way that made Knocked Up and Wedding Crashers work so well: the outrageous and often crude comedic material overpowers to make a great comedy, but it also has those great tender moments that balance out the film and really carry the story.
RELEASE DATE: 8/05/2011
Troy Anderson is the Owner/Editor-in-Chief of AndersonVision. He uses a crack team of unknown heroes to bring you the latest and greatest in Entertainment News.