The Change-Up (2011)


Can’t Believe You Would Come at Me Guns Hot

Number two in my three part rom-com RedBox spree is a movie I expected to be pretty terrible when I saw it in the kiosk, so that of course made me say “I’m gonna watch that shit.”  I thought I would hate the movie even though it seemed to be a more broad comedy (which I generally enjoy) and sports a cast almost entirely comprised of people I like.  But it’s an overdone premise and seemed more juvenile in it’s comedic choices than I would enjoy.  But who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised.  Let’s find out.  The movie is The Change-Up, written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, directed by David Dobkin, and starring Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Gregory Itzin, Mircea Monroe, and Craig Bierko.

Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) are long time best friends that have gone in completely different paths in life, but still remain friends.  Dave is a successful lawyer, husband to Jamie (Leslie Mann), and father of three children.  Mitch is sort of an actor, but mostly just a poon-hound.  They go out drinking one night and decide it’s a good idea to relieve themselves into a fountain in a park, simultaneously confessing (to varying degrees of honesty) that they envy the other for their way of life.  All the lights in town go out for a moment and go back on.  The two men think it’s suspicious, but conclude their day and return to their respective homes.  When they wake up, they have switched places.  Dave does not have a very packed schedule in the body of Mitch, but Mitch has to take Dave’s place in  a very important meeting that he does not do well in.  He also finds out that Dave’s life is on the rocks in his marriage.  Dave as Mitch gets something put onto his plate when Mitch as Dave realizes that Dave has a thing for Dave’s legal associate, Sabrina McArdle (Olivia Wilde), and sets Dave as Mitch up on a date with her.  Their adventures in the body of the other make Mitch grow up and take responsibilities, but also make Dave appreciate his family more.

I was surprised to say that, when I left this movie, I was actually a little fond of it.  The story is WAY played out and makes you instantly remember a Lindsay Lohan movie, which I generally regard as a pretty big negative, but it has a good, albeit expected, ending that left me satisfied.  There’s a good amount of funny in the movie, but it does start on a very bad foot for me.  Poop and fart humor can be funny if done well, but I don’t think it’s well done when Jason Bateman’s baby rockets shit onto his face, and then directly into his mouth.  It’s more disgusting than anything.  I laughed, but more out of disgust than amusement, and almost instantly felt embarrassed that I had laughed.  And then it made me get a vasectomy.  That one joke killed any future Robert babies.  But, by the end of the movie, I had mostly forgotten this one speed bump and left remembering the actual funny parts.  As I said, the story premise is completely played out, but they did break from some of the traditions.  I was thankful that they didn’t go for the obvious part when Mitch as Dave was in the big, important meeting.  They could have done the cliche part about him accidentally saying something that everyone else misunderstands and takes as a brilliant idea that works out well.  Instead, he fucks everything up and has to work his ass off for the first time in his life to fix it by the end of the movie.  It’s a much better message to say you should work for your wins and not stumble into them like an idiot.  They did have the pretty cliche part where Mitch as Dave does not know how to handle Dave’s two babies, but it was executed well for the most part.  He leaves them on the counter in the kitchen as Dave as Mitch tries to talk him through what he needs to do, and the kids start getting into trouble.  One tries to put his hand in the blender and licks a light socket, and the other is smacking a meat cleaver on the cutting board in front of her, but it goes too ridiculous when that baby tosses the cleaver at her father and it sticks in the cabinet next to him.  There were also some good emotional parts of the movie, mostly around how much Dave works and neglects his wife, and they fit into the movie pretty well, without killing the comedy mood too much.

The performances could be a little hit and miss in this movie.  I love Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman and I think they both deliver their own fair share of the funny in the movie, but they do next to nothing to imitate the other person when they jump into their body.  That’s one of the main parts of a movie like this: you have to try to take on a lot of the the character of the guy inside your body.  I don’t imagine that doing such a thing is easy, but I’m not the actor here.  Leslie Mann does great in this movie.  I wouldn’t say it’s her funniest role (I give that to “Fuckin’ French Toast!”), but she adds a lot of comedy, mostly in parts that seem improvised.  She also does the bulk of the emotional performances in the movie, since Bateman doesn’t realize that she’s kind of unhappy until way late in the movie, but she shows signs of it throughout.  Olivia Wilde is hot.  So hot is she that I actually wrote that in my notes while watching the movie twice.  She also has the beginnings of a sex scene with Ryan Reynolds near the end of the movie.  You catch a little side-boob, and my goodness does she have a nice ass, but it does not ruin it by showing her naked.  It does show Leslie Mann naked a couple of times, and she also has a very nice ass, but I’m pretty sure that it was either body doubled or CG to complete her nudity.  I’m fine with that, though.  I find Mann very attractive, but I like her more as a very funny MILF and think my enjoyment might wane if she got naked.  Also, the male baby kept bashing his head against the crib.  I’m pretty sure it was CG, but I’m positive it was funny.

There are a couple missteps in this movie, but I left pretty happy with the experience.  The story is way played out, and they went with some of the cliches that go along with the premise, but managed to make it their own and break from other cliches.  I like everyone in the main cast, but Reynolds and Bateman could have done better at imitating the other when the time was right.  Not a movie I feel I need to own, but a movie I’m comfortable with having RedBoxed.  And so The Change-Up gets “Life doesn’t always turn out exactly how you plan it” out of “I need to cool it on the Thai food”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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