By Sandra Kraisirideja
“The Change Up” is an amalgam of “Big” and “Freaky Friday” with a R-rated script and naked women.
The result is a hilarious comedy with just enough heart to make the whole thing worthwhile.
Director David Dobkin is no stranger to R-rated comedies, having helmed “Wedding Crashers,” which along with “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” in 2005 helped usher in a resurgent of R-rated comedies. Then there are writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who penned “The Hangover,” another R-rated smash hit.
Lucas and Moore have written another foul-mouthed script that manages to also have depth and emotion to balance out the comedy. Add to this the great timing of Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman and Leslie Mann and the laughs just keep coming. The other woman in the picture, Olivia Wilde, actually gets to do more than just be a hot body. Speaking of hot bodies, Mann gets to show off her incredible figure for a few brief moments on screen. It’s great when actresses over 35 aren’t afraid to do nude scenes.
Reynolds and Bateman play childhood friends who remain close despite their lives having taken very different paths. Reynolds’ Mitch is a moderately successful actor, meaning he’s been able to avoid any other work, and his main activity is getting high. Bateman’s Dave is a highly driven overachiever who is married and has three children—newborn twins and a pre-teen daughter.
As is usually the case with body switching movies, Mitch and Dave envy each other’s lives and after getting drunk at a sports bar proceed to piss in a fountain and wish they had the life of the other. The next morning Mitch’s soul is in Dave’s body and vice versa.
Bateman is always good at portraying men that don’t quite have what they want in life but are making do with what they have. The guys he plays are settled but they aren’t bitter about it. Reynolds is great at playing the cocky self-promoter who knows how to use his good looks and charm to attract women.
So at the beginning of “The Change Up” these two actors are basically playing characters that audiences are used to seeing them play, but after the switch we get to see them differently and its refreshing.
As Mitch, Bateman gets to play somebody who isn’t afraid to speak his mind to get what he wants, but he also doesn’t understand there are certain ways men need to behave when they become adults. As Dave, Reynolds is sensitive and unsure of himself.
Watching Bateman and Reynolds play against their usual type is the main reason why the movie works so well.