The Change-Up (2011)
starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds
directed by David Dobkin
and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
The Change-Up is a classic Hollywood formula. Two lives, switched by some freak event, teaches each how valuable their lives are respectively. Playboy Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and working stiff Dave (Jason Bateman) are lifelong friends, who after a night at the bar magically wake up in each other’s bodies. The Change-Up earns its R rating with ease; it’s packed with profanity, and nudity. The crude nature of the comedy is sometimes discomforting, rousing laughter only from an anxious awkwardness. Other scenes are hilarious, laugh-out-loud, moments, but The Change-Up is often confused about where a line should be drawn. Some moments feel excessive, and not funny enough to be redeem the crudeness. It’s unfortunate, because Reynolds and Bateman actually both give good performances, but are stuck dealing with a shallow script. Both show growth, but its not at the credit of Lucas and Moore’s childish dialogue. The Change-Up doesn’t attempt anything beyond gags and shock, which is good for a cheap laugh, and I won’t deny that it had me laughing, but also dooms it to being a forgettable movie. It was too long, and could’ve be trimmed down. There were plenty of unnecessary scenes, such as one on the set of a porno, that were just pointless and unfunny. The whole movie is hit-or-miss, and if it had been more carefully composed, could’ve actually been a good comedy, but it’s so hard to look past its superficiality, that the humor is often counteracted by going too far. There is certainly a place in an R-rated comedy for profanity, nudity, and overall crudeness, but The Change-Up fails to find a proper moderation, and that detracts from its occasionally strong moments of humor.
Final Score: 2.5 out of 5