Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman are hitting the big screen again this year, this time David Dobkin style. It’s a body-switching movie! Reynolds is Bateman, and Bateman is Reynolds. Confused? You shouldn’t be, this has been done plenty of times before. The Change-Up is a comedy written by The Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. This bromance comedy also includes the always funny Leslie Mann and the charming Olivia Wilde. Dobkin managed to get an all-star cast together, but did he deliver a great comedy? Let’s discuss the good and the bad.
- Director: David Dobkin
- Writers: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
- Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde
- Original Music by: John Debney
- Cinematography by: Eric Edwards
Two friends, Mitch and Dave, who have drifted apart, now lead different lives, Dave is an overworked lawyer, husband, and father of three, and Mitch is a single, quasi-employed man-child. Both believe the other has a better life, and while peeing into a wishing fountain, the two remark that they wish they had each others’ lives. The next morning, they wake up to find themselves in each others’ bodies, living each others’ lives.
- Ryan Reynolds: There’s no doubt that Jason Bateman is a funny guy, he’s got a definitive sense of humor that makes him recognizable and he’s a pleasure to see. But in this movie, he gets out-shined by Reynolds. Reynolds aces both roles, which isn’t easy because both characters are very different. He’s completely believable as both Mitch and Dave. Mitch is a jerk who never apologizes for his behavior and it’s easy to dislike the character. But when Reynolds is Mitch, he brings laugh after laugh, while Bateman’s Mitch borders on annoying. Dave is a great, sensitive guy. He’s a husband and father. Both actors play a great Dave, but in the end, it’s Reynolds who wins my heart.
- Bromance/Chemistry: As buddies, Reynolds and Bateman have great chemistry. Their story holds the water and in the end, you fall for both of them. The best scenes in the movie are when both actors are sharing the screen. There’s a dynamic between them and they’re very funny.
- Leslie Mann: Mann plays a great housewife with an edge. She plays a similar to character to her role in Knocked Up and once again knocks it out of the park. Perhaps it’s her comfort zone, or maybe she just keeps getting type-casted, but either way we’re happy to have her because she’s so great in the film. She knows the ins and outs of a character like this. But it’s not all thanks to her. Dobkin and the writers created a character that was mature enough to carry the whole emotional weight of the film. Despite this being a comedy, it goes pretty deep. She’s funny. She knows what she’s doing. And she’s irreplaceable.
- The Parts That Went Too Far: It’s not the f-bombs or nudity that go too far – one appreciates those things to be in abundance. After all it’s a rated-R movie. But The Change-Up goes too far, with poo and porn jokes. Once you’re staring a baby poo during the first five minutes of the movie, you realize it’s going to be that kind of movie. As a whole, the movie’s okay, but it’s the parts that go too far that keep this movie from being better. It would have been better to add more f-bombs and twisted jokes than to reduce the movie to poo and porn jokes. It was shocking, but it wasn’t funny.
Body-switching movies have been done before, but not like this. This is a fresh approach. At times The Change-Up does goes too far, but the great performances make it worthwhile.
The Change-Up hits theaters August 5, 2011.