Thursday, July 28, 2011
You know you have seen this movie before, however the adult male version that receives an R rating is a little different than the PG rated kid/adult body swapping versions from "Freaky Friday", "Vice Versa" (1988), "Like Father, Like Son" (1987). With "the Change-Up" a married guy and his best friend switch bodies after a drunk guys night out that ends with public urination in a magical fountain where they proclaim that they envy the other's life.
The film follows the cliche of the other body swapping films where the family man Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) appears to have the perfect life with a beautiful wife (Leslie Mann) and three children that compliment his dream job. In stark contrast is his best friend Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) who is the under achieving loser that works in the "lorn" industry and never finishes anything he starts. After the initial freak-out upon realizing what has taken place, they agree to respect each other's lives until they can reverse everything. Along the way they discover that even though the other's life has not followed their own path that having the opportunity to see things from a new perspective reveals what they had overlooked in their own. For Dave (now as Ryan Reynolds) it comes during a private moment with his wife where she confides in him that he takes his job too seriously and she feels ignored. For Mitch (now as Jason Bateman) it comes during a visit from Mitch's dad (Alan Arkin) where the honest opinion of Mitch as a loser that doesn't finish anything he starts ignites the fire that has been missing.
The performances from the entire cast are refreshing as Ryan Reynolds plays the nice guy again reminiscent of his performance in "Definitely, Maybe" (2008) and less from his "Van Wilder" (2002) days. Jason Bateman, who usually plays the sympathetic nice guy, gets to be the fun loving wildcard for most of the film. He struggles at it, but he still pulls it off. Leslie Mann is given a little more depth to her character where she is able to express the pains of being a married woman that comes second to her husbands professional life.
The Change-Up relies heavily on shock value to produce some cheap laughs. Unfortunately, it does not always work when the jokes are directed at the children in the film. The tatoo joke never gets explained and in my opinion was predictable, even though I was the only one in my group that guessed what it said. There is a bonus scene at the end, but even that doesn't deliver the way I thought it could with some out takes. The film is very close to being what I wanted it to be, it does remain entertaining, but missed on a few too many notes and is only 3 Quacks.
(screening date 7/28/11, release date 8/5/11, location AMC Tyson's Corner)