No body’s perfect
Too much freaky, not enough funny
If you have a few nice things to say, can you talk shit too? Because that’s the only way I’m getting through this review of David Dobkin’s (Wedding Crashers) latest comedy, The Change-Up.
Maybe I’m bitter because it seems like I’ve seen this movie five times already. Between the recent influx of bromantic comedies, and the overused plot device of body switcharoos (à la Freaky Friday), The Change-Up is old news. It may be freakier than its Jodie Foster/Lindsay Lohan predecessors, but it ain’t as funny.
Long-time buddies Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (Jason Bateman) are 30-somethings finding themselves unfulfilled with their daily grind. Pothead playboy Mitch wants more stability, while workaholic husband/father Dave just wants to have fun! Drunkenly wishing they could switch positions, they pee into some magical fountain and voila: They’re transformed into each other’s bodies, trading babes for babies. But as the film blatantly overstates, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. As soon as the guys figure this out, the rest of the film becomes an advertisement for the old clichés: “Be careful what you wish for” and “Be grateful for what’s yours.” Take out 90 percent of the R-rated content in this film, and it could be an after-school special.
These are redeeming messages, but they don’t work with the overtly crude humor that The Change-Up throws (and sometimes poops) in your face. There’s a fine line between raunchy humor and pointless vulgarity, and they tripped over it here.
The silver lining? Bateman and Reynolds are likeable, imperfect characters you’ll want to root for. It’s semi-entertaining to watch them act outside of their normal characterizations: Bateman speaking only in potty language, and Reynolds playing a mature adult for once. For some, these split personalities will be enough to bring them to the theater. For the rest, three words: Wait for Netflix.