Today: April 19, 2024

The Change Up

Body-swap Hi-jinx ensue in this rom-com, buddy come moral story.

Body-swap Hi-jinx ensue in this rom-com, buddy come
moral story.

Cast your minds
back to the body swap comedies of days gone by. The Freaky Fridays (2003)
or 80s classic Vice Versa (1988) and
you come to realise that they’re all aimed at a fairly young audience. That was until John Woo went all double pistols at dawn on us with Face/Off (1997). So if it works for family fun comedy
and it works for over the top action, is there any reason it couldn’t run a
mock with gross out adult fun? In
many ways yes, but at times The Change-Up relies too heavily on its lead’s
charisma rather than actually progressing a plot.

Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (Jason Bateman) have been best friends
for years but couldn’t be more different.
Dave is a successful lawyer, who is about to me made partner of his
firm, and married to the lovely Jamie (Leslie
Mann
) with twin babies and a their young daughter. Mitch on the other hand is an out of
work actor whose is a perennial disappointment to his soon to be married,
again, father Alan Arkin. When one night the two friends relieve
themselves of too much beer in a magic fountain they find their minds switched
to the other’s bodies. But can
Dave, now Mitch, keep his job and can Dave, now Mitch (keep up), learn to
appreciate a more relaxing existence.

When you
understand that The Change-Up was written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore,
the minds behind The Hangover
(2009), and directed by David Dobkin,
the man behind Wedding Crashers
(2005), you get an idea of the sense of humour intrinsically weaved into the
film. For the most part there are
a lot of dick jokes, or shaved ball jokes seems to be more accurate, punching
their presence throughout the film.
To call it crass at times is probably selling it short. For example
early on Bateman gets a mouth full of baby poop and you wonder what you’ve let
yourself in for. Laughs wise the
script doesn’t really work. For
large portions of the film you are left wondering what on earth the creative
team thought would make for entertainment.

However, the film
is not a right-off by any stretch of the imagination. There is some fun to be had and as ever, with the current
out-put of American comedies and in particular comedic stars, it comes in the
form of the foul-mouthed actors. In
the case of Face/Off there was something comical about watching Nic Cage do
John Travolta and vice versa for the first 15 minutes, but here Batman and
Reynolds play their normal ways before doing impressions of each other for the
bulk of the film. The results,
especially for fans of either of the actors, are a lot of fun. Reynolds doing a dry dissatisfied
impression of Bateman works surprisingly well while Bateman doing frantic hand
gestures and over the top eye-rolls is a delight.

Add to this
Leslie Mann, aka Mrs. Judd Apatow, doing her always welcome put upon mum
routine, and Olivia Wilde looking so
stunningly beautiful it’s hard not to ask if she’s been photoshopped, and you
have for a pretty fun little romp. Indeed the film is at its most entertaining when it forgoes
the gimmicks and concentrates on the fun characters. Something it does just enough to keep you hooked.

Helped by two of
Hollywood’s most entertaining and hot right now leading men The Change-Up has
its bumps along the road, a particularly large, naked and disturbing one as one
example, but comes out the other side making you smile and soon forget it.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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