I went into The Change-Up expecting something along the lines of Big, 18 Again, or even Freaky Friday. And although the premise of two people switching bodies is similar to all of those, the delivery and tone is much funnier, and geared way more towards adults.
Right out of the gate, The Change-Up lets you know it’s going to be a raunchy ride: Dave (Jason Bateman) wakes up in the middle of the night to feed his twins and ends up getting poop on his face and in his mouth, a scene that had the audience in hysterics. This is Dave’s life. He’s a husband, father to three, and a dedicated lawyer.
Dave’s best friend Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) is a man-child who sits around all day smoking pot and playing with toys. Sure, he gets with a lot of ladies, but in the grand scheme of things, he’s a potty-mouthed douche bag without a care in the world.
When the two go out drinking one night and half-wittedly wish for each other’s lives, their wish is granted. Now trapped in each other’s body, Dave and Mitch must adapt to the situation until they can figure out how to switch back.
The chemistry between Reynolds and Bateman is surprisingly good. They play off each other wonderfully and garner a lot of laughs, especially Reynolds when he’s portraying Mitch (he can spew obscenities like nobody’s business). Bateman handles the Mitch character rather well, and you need to give both actors credit for flawlessly keeping the personalities of the characters in check.
Leslie Mann, who plays Dave’s wife Jamie, holds her own and actually has a few solid comedic scenes, something of a rarity for a testosterone-driven comedy. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Olivia Wilde (who plays Dave’s assistant). She is strictly there as eye-candy and nothing more.
Director David Dobkin doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to comedies (Fred Claus and Shanghai Knights, anyone?), but he was behind Wedding Crashers, a movie I can watch over and over again and still laugh at. The Change-Up has that same vibe; one I predict will keep me laughing for years to come.
If The Hangover II and Horrible Bosses let you down this year, The Change-Up will be the band-aid on your funny bone. Next to Bridesmaids, it is the most consistently funny film of the year.
Cast: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde
Directed by: David Dobkin
Top image: A scene from The Change-Up. Courtesy Universal Pictures.