Posted by Rande Iaboni on August 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm
From the director of ‘Wedding Crashers’ and the writers of ‘The Hangover’ comes ‘The Change-Up’ starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. I must admit before stepping into this screening I had pretty low expectations for this film. After-all this is a pretty tired plot. Two people with completely different lives (Dave (Bateman) is a conservative family man while Mitch (Reynolds) is an irresponsible party animal) switch bodies and get to experience what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.
This shouldn’t sound that exciting to you considering it’s been done plenty of times before (‘Freaky Friday’ and ‘The Hot Chick’ come to mind). Surprisingly, this film managed to take a worn-out plot and make it fresh again, and while I was not utterly blown away by the film I definitely enjoyed it.
For me, ‘The Change-Up’ was not laugh-out-loud funny the entire time, rather I just had a smile on my face the whole time. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few moments where I was definitely laughing (the audience even more-so than myself), but for me this was just a step below ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Bridesmaids.’ Part of the reason I think is the beginning of the film which wasn’t all that funny and the film tried too hard to be humorous by using excessive amounts of vulgar language, drugs, and gross humor. However, once the “switch” happens the film was solid from that point on. I especially loved Ryan Reynolds in this movie, even though I’m not always a fan of his I found him to be extremely charming and convincing in this one.
Additionally, the two women in this film were also very enjoyable. Leslie Mann as Bateman’s wife and Olivia Wilde as his work crush both completely nailed their respective roles. Mann particularly blew me away as she transitioned from being sexy, funny, and emotional throughout the film flawlessly.
Like every movie there is a conflict and this film is no different. Besides getting back to their respective bodies, the main crisis is Dave making partner in his law firm and Mitch attending his estranged father’s wedding. Furthermore, Dave’s family begins to feel alienated during the switch (obviously it is not really Dave in his body but his family has no idea) and this storyline packs quite an emotional punch but I have to admit it didn’t bring the film down for me. If anything it made the stakes higher for the characters and even though some scenes were sad the comedy was still there.
Overall, I expected ‘The Change-Up’ to be a stereotypical body-switch movie with all the typical clichés, and some of that stuff was definitely in there, but it still managed to be a pretty solid R-rated comedy thanks to some hilarious circumstances and an incredible cast. So should you rush out and see this in theaters? Probably not. If you want to see Jason Bateman in a funny role this summer check out ‘Horrible Bosses’ instead.