05 August 2011
Have you ever wondered what an R-rated version of Freaky Friday might be like? Me neither. Yet, that didn’t stop Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writers behind The Hangover, from penning a script or David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) from directing that scenario. Nor did it deter Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman from signing on. The result: the fifth R-rated comedy of the summer, The Change-Up.
Body-switching is not a new concept. The Change-Up is just the first time they have gone “R” with it. The story centers on Dave Lockwood (Bateman), a successful lawyer, a happily married (Leslie Mann) father of three and his slacker, pot smoking, porn star wannabe friend Mitch Planko (Reynolds). Each thinks that the other has the easy life. While taking a drunken urination in a public fountain, they wish they had each other’s lives. So, they awake to see that they do.
Everything from here is by the book formulaic. There is nothing new here. The Change-Up offers nothing new or surprising in the way of plot. Both the leads realize how much they miss their own lives, find out stuff about the real them while “disguised” as the other, and come to their senses. What is offered is crude humor at every turn and gratuitous fake nudity on a large scale along with baby poop, a pregnant lady looking to score, more poop jokes, cheesy crude one-liners, and lots and lots of sexual innuendoes.
The supporting cast consists of Academy Award winner Alan Arkin, who had to be looking for a pay day, Olivia Wilde, who was looking to remind us all how attractive she is not chasing stupid aliens, and Gregory Itzin, who just wants you to remember he was President Logan only a few years ago. Each has their moment. Each helps push the lead actor to where they are going, whether they like it or not. Also, Craig Bierko makes a quick cameo as a “lorno,” a “light porno,” director.
Sadly, I will admit that I laughed. Not as much as the manchild next to me, but I did laugh. Reynolds and Bateman played to their strengths in comedic timing and awkward faces. The balance of story and joke telling was heavily skewed to the joke telling. That is why they chose such an easy story to tell. I did not hate this movie as much as I thought I was going to. It did have a few scenes that really worked. Two are my favorites are involve a dance recital and a tattoo parlor.
If you have to see this movie, then go. If you think you want to see this potty-mouthed version of a Disney movie, rent it. If you would rather watch Vice Versa, I don’t blame you. What is Judge Reinhold up these days? Waiting on Beverly Hills Cop IV? The Change-Up is the fifth R-rated comedy to come out this summer, and I think that its box office numbers will reflect the market overload.