The body-switch comedy is BACK!
Okay, not really. Actually I could probably spend the next 600 words explaining all the reasons it was never “here” to begin with. But I digress.
Nonetheless, The Change-Up does an alright job with what it has. It’s not earth shattering, it’s not going to win any awards, and most people will probably forget about it before the next big R-rated comedy hits screens. However, when I left the theatre I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time, and that’s as much as you can ask from a movie like this.
The premise is simple: family man Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) and his idiot friend Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) switch bodies, and as a result, lives, by drunkenly wishing such while peeing in a fountain.
Again, I’ll remind you that this isn’t high theatre.
What ensues is a series of wacky hijinks and lessons as the two try to live one another’s lives long enough to find the fountain – which is conveniently moved by a construction crew the day after the switch takes place – pee in it, and get things back to normal.
The highlight of the film is Bateman, who does a great job playing the milquetoast husband and then the outlandish bachelor trapped in a life he isn’t cut out for. His lines are delivered perfectly as he lives this predicament, so much so that you almost forget that he’s even playing a character.
It’s a nice change of pace from the Bateman we usually see, that being the straight man with everyone around him bouncing off the walls.
It’s funny, it’s foul, and it tries to have a little bit of heart. For a movie from the guys that brought Wedding Crashers and The Hangover into popular culture, you’d have to know what you were getting into.
Reynolds is also solid, definitely better than I expected him to be going in. He usually annoys me in films (probably carryover from my grudge that he married Scarlett Johansson before I had the chance to), but he was a good fit here. He usually overplays roles or plays them in such a way that you can’t help but be irritated by him, but in this case his character called for it.
They needed Mitch to be goofy and over-the-top to allow for his change to be more profound, and Reynolds set that up well. He also did surprisingly well as the family man trapped in the goofball’s body, playing awkward and uncomfortable so well that I wasn’t totally sure Jason Bateman wasn’t really trapped inside of him.
Leslie Mann is pretty good as Dave’s wife Jamie as well, even if she’s just playing a variation of the same role she’s played in everything for about five years now. She’s less catty than most of her “wife under stress” characters, more likable and funny, and that’s what the film needed. She does her job well in most comedies, and it’s no different here.
The only real qualm I had was the length, which caused things to drag at times. I found myself looking at my watch a few times, and you never want that. Runtime is just shy of two hours, and it definitely supports a case of less being more. Cutting twenty minutes or so could have helped things significantly.
The Change-Up has its moments. It’s funny, it’s foul, and it tries to have a little bit of heart. For a movie from the guys that brought Wedding Crashers and The Hangover into popular culture, you’d have to know what you were getting into.
This one might not reach those levels, but it holds its own. There are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.