Review: 'The Change-Up' Radically Defines The Phrase 'Be Careful What You Wish For'
Whether a co-worker, a family member, a friend, a celebrity, etc…there’s something about our lives we individually have that’s either admired or envied among one another. You’d be one liar if by the time you finish reading this paragraph, you won’t confess to yourself at one point or another wishing you had someone else’s “goods.” It happens all the time! I can present you with a list of folks whose lives I wish I had, and if I could (I won’t because I’m not an a-hole), I’d love to present you with a thread of folks who email me on how “lucky I am” because I screen films, or how “lucky I am” because I live in NYC. (I’m not joking, peeps! I read that kind of crap all the time!) Truth is, life itself is an acquired taste, we’re not all cut out to live each other’s lives, we dictate our own destinies, and what’s cool is that "The Change-Up" is a fantastic piece of crude comedy which presents complexities when a magical act radically defines the phrase “Be careful what you wish for.”
THE CHANGE UP is the latest in a thread of R-rated funny flicks, including BRIDESMAIDS, HORRIBLE BOSSES, HALL PASS, YOUR HIGHNESS and THE HANGOVER PART II among a few others having hit theaters this year. Hollywood meat in Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman should spark interest in THE CHANGE UP, which takes an all too familiar idea and sprints with it. Reynolds and Bateman portray two long-time bros, Mitch and Dave, who have sailed away due to their drastic different lives. Dave is a hard-working, married man and daddy of 3, while Mitch is an aspiring actor—which ALWAYS means no steady job—and spends his days swinging a replica JEDI-like sword, smoking weed, sleeps in and loves the art of banging any kind of woman! (You’ll see what I mean!)
After an evening of shooting back on a few, Dave and Mitch decide to unleash their snake venom in a fountain, where they both effeminately confess their desire to have each other's lives. Upon the unknown taking their wish into consideration, a pretty funny, yet, all too familiar to me—I’ve seen it in my city before—“Brown Out” occurs implying their wish having been granted! When they wake up the next day, Dave and Mitch realize that their wish has come true and they now need to live within each other's body. Of course, neither man actually wanted to trade lives and they are not happy with the idea. As a force-fed result, Dave and Mitch travel back to the fountain, only to find that it has been moved. (Who didn’t see that coming?!) However, Dave now has an opportunity to have more fun and a more exciting sex life, while Mitch, who has always wanted to bang Dave's wife, Jamie (Leslie Mann), now has his open, unapologetic, opportunity. In addition, the fellas get a chance to learn about the challenges each of them experience in their daily lives and make changes, but not always for the better. After all…come on… they’re guys! We never really grow up, right? (Ladies?)
That being said, THE CHANGE UP is not for everyone! If you’re squeamish or some Right-Wing Religious prude, stay away from this film! The film is loaded with hilarious obscenities, vile sight gags and lots of female nudity. Even though we’ve already witnessed the body switching thing before in films, what keeps this piece moving is the awesome chemistry between Reynolds and Bateman. Comedy duos have been smeared on our faces for years and years and although some work and some don’t, for a team of which I never thought I’d see share screen time together—in a comedy no less—it felt great to watch them unleash with a script that allowed guys to be guys. However, on the flip-side: Sharing and clearly not forgetting the female demographic, Mann and a stunningly cute Wilde provide the female version of hypertension comedy which coexists with the male species. From sensitivity and wanting attention, to a simple girl who wears professionalized wardrobe during the day, to a sport-loving, tat obsessed, semi-foul-mouthed, down-to-earth chick after work…all characters and characteristics were owned, bounced off each other well, and provided a balanced level for anyone watching the film. Everyone benefits!
Having served their roles well, if there’s one thing I have to say is that it’s great to know that Reynolds had the chance this year to be in a redeeming film to make up for that horrible GREEN LANTERN. Granted THE CHANGE UP doesn’t have the visual magic the other one does, what works in this film are the abilities in his role he had to play with, as well as the movie having the power to keep you entertained and wondering what’s next. Yes, the script has its moments of free-falls (There’s always stuff you can edit), but it’s straight forward and doesn’t shy away from anything! You name it! Poop jokes are becoming stronger, as are uninhibited women, and the magical art of forced “multiple-like” personalities. I thought the switch was cool and crude, as well as brilliant to a degree when exposing no matter how much you may want to be someone else and/or live their life…it doesn’t mean you can handle it. The ability to learn is there, but never to a level where you can actually do it forever! (Amazing what a loser like me can pick up, ey?)
Knowing they all do, I’m sure THE CHANGE UP will have its share of bash, but it’s been a pretty stable year of funny flicks, this is one of them, so, F it! If you’re an open-minded type…this funny flick is for you! Enjoy!
GRADE: B / GENRE: Comedy/Adventure / RATED: R / RUN TIME: 1 Hr. 40 Min.
STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin
DIRECTOR: David Dobkin
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