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!

I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

I Love You Jim Carrey

Okay, I went into this review with the worst idea of what it would be ever.  I totally thought this movie was supposed to be about Philip Morris, the tobacco guy.  Then I heard Jim Carrey played one of them gays in it.  Then I thought “The tobacco guy was a gay?”  Then I watched the movie, and I’m an idiot.  This movie is not about that Philip Morris at all.  It’s about Steven Jay Russell, a famous con artist that escaped from jail many times and is currently in jail until 2140.  I Love You Phillip Morris stars Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, and Leslie Mann.

The movie starts with Steven Jay Russell (Jim Carrey) on his deathbed, remembering the events of his life.  At first he’s an organist at a church where he meets the woman that will become his wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann).  He becomes a police officer, mainly to find his biological mother.  He does, goes to meet her, and is rejected by her without explanation.  Soon after, he gets in a vehicle collision and decides he needs to start being who he really is – a gay.  He leaves his life and moves to Florida and gets a boyfriend.  But he soon finds that being gay is expensive, so he starts committing lots and lots of fraud to pay for expensive things he now likes.  Then he gets arrested.  In jail, he gets learned on the law from the library and meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), a man who has nothing to do with tobacco or the Force, but does love wang.  They soon get out of jail and Steven fraudulently acquires a position as chief financial officer of a large company.  It’s not long before he starts stealing from them too, and then gets into more trouble.

I don’t think I’ve had it on the forefront of my facade for a while now, but some people that know me know that I love Jim Carrey.  I own and loved the greater majority of movies that he’s appeared in.  That being the case, I feel fully confident that it had nothing to do with the fact that I liked this movie.  I was worried going into it that this was going to be another one of his dramatic movies, which I generally still like but I don’t like dramas.  This was not the case.  This is actually mostly a comedy.  There’s a good amount of funny in here.  One thing I can think of is that he doesn’t say he’s gay until a few minutes into the movie, having already shown himself with his wife and daughter.  How do they tell us?  Out of nowhere throw in him butt fucking Freddie Mercury.  Okay, so it probably wasn’t him, but it looked like him.  It’s also pretty funny that he decides to become a conman because of how expensive it is to be gay.  I had no idea how expensive it was.

The performances are really good in here as well.  There’s really only two people in this movie that are heavily featured and that’s Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.  Leslie Mann is pretty funny as the super religious ex-wife, but she’s not in it that often.  Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor had me totally convinced that they were gays in this, even though I’m pretty sure both are actually straight.  The both also had some hilarious moments, touching love scenes, and very emotional scenes.  Also of note, when Carrey has to be someone’s lawyer in the middle of the movie, it totally took me back to the Liar Liar days.  I must watch that again.

Now, I don’t consider myself homophobic, or even homoist as I say it.  I can prove that I’m not a homoist because I have a couple of gay friends.  But I do still have some deep seeded homophobia that makes me uncomfortable watching dudes kiss.  I don’t know what it is and I don’t really have desire to fix it because it’s not a big deal, but when it happens in a movie it tends to startle me more than a horror movie.  If you’re like me, don’t worry.  There aren’t that many scenes of men kissing and the sex scenes usually happen off camera and you only see one dude standing behind another dude and thrusting.

I gotta say, this is probably one of Jim Carrey’s best performances ever, and I liked his other performances.  I could probably say the same for Ewan McGregor, but I can only presently remember him appearing in one other movie and that was Star Wars.  The movie’s also very funny and definitely worth watching.  I give this movie “Enough romance.  Let’s fuck!” out of 788.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

Rio (2011)

Upon returning my last RedBox movies, I found 2 new movies I wanted to watch.  Both are computer animated movies about birds.  One I expected to be decent, the other I expect to be crap.  You’ll have to wait for the crap one, because I first decided to watch Rio, with the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway,, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, and Leslie Mann.

Rio starts off in Rio de Janeiro, with overly adorable baby Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) watching a bunch of colorful birds singing and dancing, as birds are prone to do in Rio de Janeiro.  Then they all start disappearing as smugglers snatch all of them and put them into cages, grabbing baby Blu as well.  In the process of being driven through Minnesota, one cage falls out of the truck, this cage of course containing Blu.  Blu is found by young Linda (Leslie Mann) and taken in as her pet.  The movie jumps to many years later where Linda owns a book store and Blu gets to run around it freely (I say “run around” because Blu never learned how to fly).  One day an Ornithologist from Brazil sees Blu in the window and rushes in to speak to Linda about him.  He informs Linda that Blu may be the only male Macaw like him left in the world, and back in Brazil they have possibly the only female and they want Blu to knock her up.  Linda begrudgingly goes to Rio to pimp out her bird.  They leave Blu in a habitat with Jewel (Anne Hathaway) to try to get them to get freaky.  But Jewel does not take kindly to this here city bird and wants only to escape captivity.  While the Ornithologist and Linda go to enjoy Rio, smugglers break in to the bird habitat and steal all the birds, including Blu and Jewel.  They get … claw-cuffed … together, soon escape, and have to figure out how to free themselves of of their shackles with the help of the native animals, played by, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, and an English Bulldog played by Tracy Morgan, who finds out his puppy is gay and has it put down.  Okay, that part didn’t happen.

There’s some good and some bad to this movie.  To start off with the good: the animation is pretty spectacular, unlike earlier reviewed Alpha and Omega.  I love it when an animated movie is able to give the animals life and humor in the way they behave.  The animation is also very colorful, as I imagine Rio de Janeiro itself is.  The Bulldog, strangely, was the only animation problem I have, but I’ve had a bulldog for many years, and even though they are a lot of face and can occasionally have a slobbering problem, this movie overdid the slobbering and did not capitalize on the adorableness of the breed as well as they could.  But that’s probably a flaw you’d only notice if you had a bulldog.  As for the story, it’s a classic, cliche, but enjoyable type of a pet separated from his owner and trying to return to them.  Along the way, as should come as no great surprise, Blu and Jewel start crushing on each other, and the opposites attract idea is hardly a new one either, but it’s fine.  The movie is not what I’d call funny, though it does seem to attempt it often.  I think this is an animated movie that is more meant for kids and not quite up to the level of your usual Pixar movie that tends to be as enjoyable for kids as it is for adults, but most of it is enjoyable enough for both.

The biggest bad thing, for me, is something that happens about 4 or 5 times in this movie: Musical numbers.  I friggin hate musicals, with a vengeance.  I had to tolerate them so much in childhood, between getting dragged to plays often, and of course the early Disney musicals.  I don’t always hate the entire movie because it’s a musical, and I didn’t hate Rio because it was a musical, but the musical numbers slow the movie down and are not very good anyway.  They always seem so out of place.  I assume it’s somebody’s cup of tea, but I don’t want my movies to break into song for no reason.  Again, it only happens a few times, so it’s not that big of a deal, but I feel I would’ve enjoyed the movie much more if they had not gone that route.  Also, I was not entirely a fan of the voice acting.  For some reason, most of the cast didn’t click for me.  It wasn’t until Blu created Facebook that he finally came into his own.  I may see too many movies.  I get so confused.  They weren’t awful at it, they just didn’t do it for me for some reason.

All that being said, you probably won’t hate this movie.  I didn’t.  There were good parts of comedy, romance, action, … musical (shudder) … and a story you won’t hate sitting through with your kids, and probably not even by yourself.  I give Rio a “Solidly okay” out of “Wicked Pisser”.

Please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.