Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Directed by David Dobkin
Starring Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde
Dave Lockwood (in the body of Mitch Planko): Oh my God; I'm a douchebag.
There are certain things you need to just plain accept as fact in order to enjoy THE CHANGE-UP. First of all, you have to accept that the notions of what it means to be a responsible adult in the film will be as cliched and contrived as they can possibly be. Past that, you need to accept that, as this is a comedy for dumb boys and from the minds of dumb boys, there will be plenty of T & A and no fart joke opportunity will be missed. Foremost though, you need to accept that two grown men can urinate into a random fountain, wish they had the other's life and then wake up with their wish come true. To be fair, you don't actually have to accept any of this but if you won't, you should definitely avoid this movie.
Director David Dobkin (WEDDING CRASHERS) introduces us to Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) and Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) while they are still sleeping soundly in bed. Dave's blue pyjamas match his blue sheets, which in turn match the duvet and complimentary pillowcases. This is a man who is consumed by order. Mitch, on the other hand, would be lucky to find two socks that go together, let alone two pillowcases. They have been friends their whole lives and are only really friends now because of their history. Like any true family man, Dave works tireless hours at a law firm and rarely gets a chance to spend any time with his family. Mitch smokes pot all day and plays with his swords, both of the steel and metaphorical variety. Having switched lives though, Mitch must learn to see something through in his life while Dave has to learn to chill out. Naturally, they each go to extremes in their new lives before they learn that happiness lies somewhere in the middle. They say the grass is always greener, which is even more true when you piss all over it like these two dolts do.
With characters as vapid as this and a storyline as obvious and played out as body swapping, THE CHANGE-UP needs to have solid talent on screen to raise the material to a place where it is at the very least passable, let alone impressive. And while it never truly reaches great heights, Bateman and Reynolds work their hardest to get it there. Both men have sharp tongues and plenty of charisma to engage the viewer and it is at times a great delight to see them play against the type that each has fallen into in their careers. As great as their performances are though, there is only so much they can do for a film that finds spurting poop smeared all over someone's face within five minutes of its opening.