Change For the Worse
The Change Up is the latest version of the Hollywood classic idea of body swap movies. We have seen this in movies like Freaky Friday, Like Father Like Son and the list goes on. In this latest rendition Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds play two guys who switch bodies and learn a lesson from it. The message of the movie however is covered up by gross humor about body functions or sexual situations that are too explicit.
The film starts by introducing us to Dave Lockwood (Bateman), a driven attorney. He wants to make partner at his firm and nothing will stand in his way. He has a wife and three children, and they suffer from his driving ambition. When he gets with his best friend, slacker Mitch Planko (Reynolds) he lives vicariously through Mitch's descriptions of his active sex life. Mitch also envies Dave's stable home life and career.
After a night of drinking and sharing thoughts, the two guys walk into a city park and relieve themselves in a fountain. As they are doing this they turn to each other and say, "I wish I had your life." The next morning Dave wakes up in Mitch's body and vice versa. The rest of the film is them coping with this swap and trying to find a way out of it.
Reynolds and Bateman are very good actors and they throw themselves into their roles. They are especially good at portraying the personalities of the persons inhabiting each other. Leslie Mann is also appealing as the "wife" who doesn't quite understand what has gotten into her husband. And the fourth party in the film, Olivia Wilde, adds to the fun as a co-worker of Dave's who begins to date him while he has Mitch in his body.
The problem with this R rated movie is it is loaded down with crude scenes which include a lot of bathroom humor or bodily function jokes. There are also sexual sequences that will offend some in the audience. You wonder why actors of the stature of Bateman, Reynolds, Mann and Wilde would subject themselves to this type of crude behavior.
It is a shame the grossness of the movie mars the overall effect of the film. There is a sweet message about being happy with your life that gets covered up by the crudity. Maybe if the crude humor was a little bit funnier then the overall effect would not be so distasteful.
Your tolerance of the content of the film will depend on how well you tolerate crude humor. I give the movie points for the good acting of the four leads, but I deduct points for the overall lack of comedy and the reliance on crudeness.
I scored The Change Up a body inhabiting 5 out of 10.