Synopsis: Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman star in The Change-Up, from director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers), writers Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (The Hangover) and producer Neal Moritz (Fast & Furious, Click). The R-rated comedy takes the traditional body-switching movie, ties it up tightly and throws it off a cliff.
Growing up together, Mitch (Reynolds) and Dave (Bateman) were inseparable best friends, but as the years have passed they’ve slowly drifted apart. While Dave is an overworked lawyer, husband and father of three, Mitch has remained a single, quasi-employed man-child who has never met a responsibility he liked. To Mitch, Dave has it all: beautiful wife Jamie (Leslie Mann), kids who adore him and a high-paying job at a prestigious law firm. To Dave, living Mitch’s stress free life without obligation or consequence would be a dream come true.
Following a drunken night out together, Mitch and Dave’s worlds are turned upside down when they wake up in each other’s bodies and proceed to freak the &*#@ out.
Despite the freedom from their normal routines and habits, the guys soon discover that each other’s lives are nowhere near as rosy as they once seemed. Further complicating matters are Dave’s sexy legal associate, Sabrina (Olivia Wilde), and Mitch’s estranged father (Alan Arkin). With time not on their side, Mitch and Dave comically struggle to avoid completely destroying each other’s lives before they can find a way to get their old ones back.
Website: The Change-Up Movie
Release Date: August 5, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
The body switch comedy has been done. It has never been done like this before. The Change-Up is the first ‘R’ rated comedy of this type, and it has earned that rating to the fullest extent of the MPAA’s rules and regulations.
Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (Jason Bateman) have been best friends their entire lives. They are the strongest of opposites, Dave being a responsible family man with a successful job at a law firm on his way to being made partner, a beautiful wife, three adorable children, a nice house–a picture perfect existence so to speak. Mitch is a mostly out of work actor whose most recent casting is in a Lorno (a skinemax picture, if you know the slang term for an adult not-quite-pornographic movie); he has absolutely no responsibilities, and can be somewhat of an embarrassment every time he opens his mouth. These two men, with very different lives, have one of those “moments” while peeing in a fountain where they wish they had the other’s life. Dave dreams of zero responsibility, random sexual encounters with beautiful women, sleeping all day and getting high on marijuana. Mitch sees Dave’s life as a thing to envy for the love he has from his family, the stability of his job, and overall semblance of happiness. As the body switch formula goes, Mitch and Dave switch bodies but maintain their minds. There is a small difference this time around for this latest brush with life-swapping–nothing goes as planned and everything is hilarious for that reason.
The Change-Up is about the mishaps of your opposite becoming you, and having to juggle a new lifestyle, and in Mitch’s case an instant family and responsibility. The film does not stop at merely providing laughs for the predicaments these two characters get themselves into. It also lays on the drama, while maintaining the humor in the key moments. Dave and Mitch both have problems in their lives they have not addressed, or were unwilling to until now when they are given little choice but to do so. When one sees their life, or witnesses how their actions effect those close to them there is a greater understanding that occurs. This is what happens for Mitch and Dave. They may be living one another’s lives yet it is their own life they will inevitably fix in the process.
The Change-Up is not without its faults. Casting aside the been-there-done-that of body switch comedies, because it is not the formula that is at fault here since the movie is quite fun to watch, never hesitating to entertain the viewer. The film suffers from a great deal of continuity issues. Dave and Mitch have their switch occur on a weekday evening, to wake up the next morning having to go to work at the other’s respective job. As the days pass and the story builds on events that will take place and when, things get a tad confusing. For example, a date is set-up between Dave as Mitch with Dave’s work associate Sabrina (Olivia Wilde), for Saturday evening. The time in-between, when Dave and Mitch are continuing to be one another, passes without a clear sense of how many days, or by showing what has occurred during this time. It is a common occurrence throughout the film and often times even the dialogue of a scene does not match the events that occur directly after. Even with these multitudes of errors in continuity, and really an overall sense of time and place, The Change-Up easily continues to be a pleasant diversion with enough humor, as well as enough heart, to satisfy.
Between the Lorno and the twin babies it is nearly impossible to not laugh while watching The Change-Up. The Lorno scene may become infamous as one of the most disturbing, disgusting yet incredibly funny comedic moments on film. The twin babies accomplish every single thing a baby can do that is repulsive, dangerous, and well, part of the horrific nightmares of parenting to provide a multitude of laughs. The comedy in The Change-Up is quite vulgar. It is also amazingly racist at times–if you are Jewish, Persian, or a woman you really need to be able to take a joke or being offended is going to happen. There are no rules in this film, and everything–yes, EVERYTHING–is for the taking when it comes to getting a laugh. The beauty is the film does not feel like it is trying to get the viewer to laugh, you clearly are because of what is being said, how things are turning out (since nothing goes how it should), and the fantastic chemistry between Bateman and Reynolds.
Gags and direct jokes aside the The Change-Up is hilarious due to the reaction shots of Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. As one thing after enough is said, done, or acted upon it is the way in which both actors react to the situation with their facial expressions that sets the hilarious tone for the scene, and the film as a whole. Both men have a talent for comedy and both are very different comedians. By switching bodies they have to play at being the other character, and as such the other actor’s comedic styling. Bateman and Reynolds nail each other perfectly. Anyone familiar with Jason Bateman’s prior body of work will be shocked, with laughter sure to follow, when he takes on the role of a foul-mouthed, sexually harassing, all around selfish son of a bitch. Reynolds plays up the softer side as Dave, although the Mitch that lives inside of Dave makes an appearance quite often to any viewer’s delight. As a comedic duo Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds have hit the right mark together, adding Leslie Mann into the mix as Dave’s wife only lends an extra dose of the funny to make The Change-Up quite often hysterical to watch.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): David Dobkin
- Producer(s): Jon LucasScott Moore
- Screenwriter(s): Ryan Reynolds (Mitch Planko)Jason Bateman (Dave Lockwood)Leslie Mann (Jamie Lockwood)
- Story: Olivia Wilde (Sabrina McArdle)
- Cast: Alan Arkin (Mitch’s Dad)Mircea Monroe (Tatiana) Lee HaxallGreg HaydenEric EdwardsBarry Robison
- Cinematographer: John Debney
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA