Directed by David Dobkin. Starring Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann. 105 minutes. 14A
I’m just going to come clean. Before I saw The Change-Up, I didn’t do my research. I watched some snippets of late night interviews, but that’s about it. But I wish I had at least looked up the writers of this film, because I did not like The Hangover. And that info combined with Jason Bateman constantly saying that the only reason he agreed to do this film was because it was an R-rated version take on the redundant body-swap film would have surely convinced me not to see it. But then again, the persuasiveness of a group has its own weight as well, so I might have seen it anyway and regretted it just the same.
In The Change-Up, up-tight workaholic and family man Dave Lockwood (Bateman) switches bodies with his best bud, pothead and out-of-work actor Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) when the two make a wish out of frustration with their own lives. Predictably, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. And you can write the rest yourself.
Although a bromance is not typically a film you’d see for the acting, Reynolds’ ease and convincingness of switching between the two contrasting characters needs to be recognized. Bateman does fairly as well, but if you’d told me he was playing the same character throughout, just going through mood swings, I might believe it. (Although his changed-up character does provide the most laughs. And laughs are scarce.)
There isn’t a whole lot to say about this film except that you get what you expect. Minus the R-rating, because evidently, it wasn’t. Though it probably should have been (well, 18A). If I were a parent, I would sleep more than uneasy know that this was what my 14-year-old was watching. Seriously, review board, get it together; save some teens from watching this. Too bad there’s no one to save the rest of us. C+