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Movie Reviews

The Change Up



Released: 5th August 2011

Director: David Dobkin

Stars:Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann

Certificate: 15

Reviewer: Mitch Hansch

I wanted to hate “The Change-Up”. I wanted to hate it bad. Hate it like I hate the word “organic” or the lie “exciting female sports”. I mean, who does “body switch” movies anymore? That movie trend has been more tapped than the “male black comedian playing latex female in unfunny movies”. Probably benefiting greatly from my dangerously low expectations, “The Change-Up” is wildly cliche, and you can see the outcome 110 minutes away, but hey, it had me laughing and laughing consistently while even being a tad bit heartwarming to boot.

“The Change-Up” brings back the usual family based switcheroo flick and gives it the hard R rating from the minds of screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover). Dave (Jason Bateman) and Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) are BFF’s whose lives have turned out very different- they should make a body switch movie where the two characters were extremely similar in responsibilities and lifestyle choices- no they shouldn’t because that would be stupid.

Dave is a family man who’s corporate drive never allows him to take time to smell the roses while Mitch is the promiscuous bachelor who likes to pluck those roses and then have sex with them. After an evening of drinks they both admit to wanting

each others life. This wouldn’t be such a big deal but it turns out that since they said it simultaneously while relieving themselves in a fountain, they wake up the next morning in each other’s bodies. I know right.

The script along with director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) take almost no time to give any attention to Mitch and Dave trying to figure out how this happened. They understand the magical piss fountain is obviously the culprit, and since that fountain has been misplaced by the state, they’re going to have to make the best of their situation. I know right.

The Change-Up is funny because Bateman and Reynolds are funny people (how’s that for deep film criticism) who are funny working together. Bateman doesn’t get to play against his dry worrisome character type often, but when he does (“Dodgeball”), he’s hilarious, and it’s no different here. Reynolds gets his laughs as well getting to play a married man with more free time than he’s accustomed to.

It’s all pretty by the book as far as the rest of the film goes. Each of them have a big career moment just about to happen even though Dave’s life has a bit more on the line actually having kids and a wife at stake. That wife is played by Leslie Mann who really gets to shine in more ways than one. I’m sure being married to Judd Apatow helps ,but Mann has shown why she continues to get consistent work. Another strong female presence is Dave’s secretary played by Olvia Wilde. Wilde once again show’s why she’s being cast in just about everything (House, Tron: Legacy, Cowboy’s and Aliens, In Time) and will continued to be one of the hotter commodities in film for years to come.

“The Change-Up” is funny despite its unnecessary R saturation. The gross-out humor is responsible for the least funny scenes. Bateman and Reynolds overcome it’s flaws and even manage to lift the spirit which includes a scene that has one of the more heartwarming dumps that I can remember. God bless those low expectations. I know right.

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