The Change-Up (2011)


Proof that the comedy genre is running out of ideas.

Single playboy Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and responsible husband-father Dave (Jason Bateman) are best buddies who want each other’s life — and they get the chance when they magically swap bodies after a night of drunken revelry.

The body-switching comedy has been done before, so when I saw the preview for this one I thought it was going to be a big pile of crap. However, even though the critics hate this one, I can’t really say I don’t like this either.

For the most part, the script itself knows exactly what this film is all about and doesn’t try to do anything new with this body-switch story, instead it just loads up with tons and tons of raunchy jokes, which isn’t so bad. A lot of the things said and done here are sometimes we haven’t seen or heard hit the screen before but that doesn’t mean it’s still not funny. The jokes are constant, as well as rude, mean, and just plain nasty but it kept me laughing a whole lot throughout the first 30 minutes of this film.

This is also an R-rated film, and when I mean R, I mean a heavy R. There is a huge amount of poop, ball, penis, sex, and fart gags to be had here which makes it even more disgusting once you see the situations these dudes get into which is some pretty messed up stuff. It actually gets so bad to the point of where you may actually start to gag at the things you see. Trust me, it’s some pretty bad and dirty stuff.

Some may say this is all in bad taste, while others will say it is just incredibly repulsive. I say that this is some raunchy stuff that is actually pretty funny and something that hasn’t been done before in a body-switch film and with the director of Wedding Crashers teaming up with the dudes who wrote The Hangover, I can’t believe I was actually surprised by a lot of the stuff I was seeing here. In case you couldn’t tell this is not a film you bring mommy and daddy to.

However, as the film kept on going, I started to realize that the laughs started to fall more and more until there was barely any and then we just got the usual annoying, sympathetic plot device. The film actually does have us care for these guys which is something I wasn’t even expecting but the problem here is that it just gets way too sappy by the end, almost till the point of where I just kept on rolling my eyes left-and-right at every single piece of dialogue that came out of these character’s mouths.

The film doesn’t go off formula for one second, yet it spends it’s sweet time getting there regardless of the fact that everyone knows exactly how it’s gonna end. This is the biggest problem here because it goes on for way too long. It went on so long that after the 90-minute mark not a single person was actually laughing until the film itself realized that it was actually a raunchy comedy and then decided to throw in some dirty stuff there.

The real saving grace to this film is actually the cast which shines in almost every moment they get. Jason Bateman plays the straight-laced funny guy in almost every film he does now as Dave, but here he gets to branch out now that he’s taking over Reynolds’ mouth. Bateman takes over this film bringing so many hilarious one-liners, non-stop crass remarks, and a guy that is actually kind of mean and unlikable which Bateman seems to channel incredibly well in this performance. Ryan Reynolds is a lot more subdued as Mitch, but the guy still shows that he has the hilarious comic chops to make this character work well. It’s probably been awhile since he’s actually gotten a very funny role but Reynolds is given a lot of opportunity to just fly that foul-mouth around and shows why he’s got perfect comedic timing and not just a great body with a killer smile.

The problem with the casting of these two in this role is that both actors actually kind of have the same dead-pan comedic delivery so when these two switch bodies and minds, there’s nothing really terribly new to their persona’s. I think if they casted two actors that have two totally different ways of bringing out laughs, then this would have provided a lot more hilarity seeing an actor take on a different role for once. But instead, we’re stuck with these two and that’s not to say that their not all that bad anyway.

The ladies in this film are actually pretty good too. Leslie Mann is funny as well as pretty endearing as Dave’s wife and although she’s been a lot better, I still have to say that she owns that sweet and mean side to her acting that she has. The always gorgeous Olivia Wilde does a great job of not letting her good looks get too much in the way of her comedy and actually brings out some very good laughs that I wasn’t really expecting from her character after all.

Consensus: The plot turns into some sympathetic and formulaic crap that kind knocks the comedy down more and more, but The Change-Up still has it’s fair shares of totally raunchy, dirty, and just downright wrong jokes that actually work mainly thanks to the very great performances from Reynolds and Bateman.

7/10=Rental!!

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21 comments

  1. Ryan Reynolds is not having a good year. “Green Lantern” flops and this film under-performs as well. He loses Scarlett Johansson to ew… Sean Penn for a while. Can we just give the guy a bit of a break?

  2. Nice review.

    What I’ve observed from this genre is that all the crass jokes are front loaded because, sooner or later, the screenwriter knows they have to hold their characters responsible (so that all is forgiven). It’s also a load of crap and lazy writing. While not the best film in the world, I rather enjoyed much more of “Your Highness” than I thought I would mostly because they refused to make apologies for their character or their actions. Go big or go home (or in this case, stay home since very few people were tricked into thinking “The Change Up” was any better than how bad it looked in the credits.

    • It wasn’t terrible but the raunch factor will turn some people away as well as their sympathy towards the end. Your Highness was alright but this was better honestly.

  3. Hey Dan. Nice review. I disagree with your final assessment of this film, as given a choice I would not only have no one in America see this film but would also have the director beaten heavily with rubber hoses. I guess I am more intolerant of what I perceive as true banality. However, I can see the validity of your points and I guess, for the right mindset, this film could work. Thanks for reading and commenting my review as well.

    • I didn’t think it was as terrible as some and as you say, but some of the stuff here is very dirty and that’s why I can see if someone wouldn’t dig it as much. Thanks David!

  4. Seems like we had the same opinion on this one, and it didn’t take us switching bodies to come to similar conclusions. Nice review man.

  5. I haven’t had the opportunity to go and watch this one yet, but I am a little disappointed. I mean, I knew that it wasn’t going to be very original because the premise is Freaky Friday, and this is already overdone.

    The disappointment comes with the actors. I like both of these guys, and in my opinion, I think they both have different deliveries and do things on separate levels. I mean, the first thing I saw Jason Batemen in was Juno, which I admit is that sap, however, he played the asshole- and he played it well. Even in Couples Retreat, he played a very different kind of asshole who had a different outlook on things.

    Ryan Reynolds has played the sap, the jerk, the dramatic horror guy, the pushover… Definitely Maybe, Just Friends; Amytiville Horror; The Proposal.. I know that to many romantic comedies are all the same, but the characters HE played were very different from one another and I think that he should be given more chances show this.

    Great review though, I will most likely go and watch it for myself; I am just disappointed to hear about the raunch to sap. Though, I didn’t really expect any less, since we’re combining production teams from The Hangover and Wedding Crashers. haha

    • It’s good, especially if you want a couple of dirty laughs but if you aren’t in the mood for the raunchiness then this may not be your kind of film. Thanks!

  6. i didn’t think this was terrible. it’s not original. at all. but i think the charisma of the two guys, especially bateman, really help pull it off. sure it was crass, which made it a little unexpected since no other body-switching movie I’ve seen before was nearly as crude. i thought it was fun. more fun than i thought it would be.

    • Same! It actually had a bit of a fun spirit to it all that worked and actually got past many of the points where originality didn’t come up so well. Thanks Candice!

  7. I thought it was an Adult version of Freaky Friday! I saw this movie and I would have given it a 6. Because so parts were funny (as seen in the Previews) and others were very disturbing….all in all Not a Great movie. Could of Missed this one!

  8. I thought the cast was dreadful – and I like all those actors – and the movie as a whole was a tasteless insult not only to the various groups in shamelessly offended but to moviegoers as a whole. Come on, people, we have really sunk low if THIS is what we want from our movies.

  9. I don’t have a problem with raunchy humor, I just didn’t think much of it in this film was funny. I like Reynolds and Bateman, and I thought they did a convincing job in the body swapping element, but I couldn’t believe it went on past the 90 minute mark. Way too long for this type of story! It felt droning at the end. As you know, my biggest gripe is still that it couldn’t make up its mind about what type of comedy it was trying to be.

    • It was raunchy but still actually funny and had many moments where I was laughing at Bateman and Reynolds but it could have had many more moments where it succeeded.

  10. […] Anyway, what I am trying to say here is that we all know Jason Bateman for being a lovable, heart-of-gold, dead-panning smart-ass. It’s an act he’s been perfecting for quite some time and personally, I don’t feel as if it is ever getting old. However, it’s surprising just how many times Bateman hasn’t really gone out on a limb and gotten really wacky and nutty with himself. Sure, there was the Change-Up, where he had to play some-odd version of Ryan Reynolds, but it seems to be that only myself and a few others actually saw it, or better yet, even liked it. […]

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