The Change-Up – Movie Review

Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman get dragged through dung in this disappointing contribution to the R-rated comedy craze and yet they seem to enjoy every minute of it.

They get 100% kudos for exhibiting energy and positivity in the face of a script that has nowhere to go and goes there over and over and over again.

Unless you live under a rock, you know that these two buddies are dissimilar.  One is a moderately happy family man in a big house, with a big job and a beautiful wife and twins.  Dave (Bateman) works hard and is responsible to the point of ignoring his own desires and dreams if he can even remember what they are. 

One crack in his nicely ordered façade is his crush on his cute colleague Sabrina (Olivia Wilde).  His long time buddy Mitch (Reynolds) on the other hand is a freewheeling, pot smoking, fast-talking womanizing, irresponsible bad ass, a man child of epic proportions.

Okay so funny contrast.  They are meant to get along despite having nothing in common except that they went to school together.  They’re close enough that they will use a local fountain for a pissoir together, and admit they want each other’s lives. 

And boom, some magic, sky blackening electrical something switches their personalities.  They are flung into each other’s lives but its’ no dream come true.

R rated comedies are a welcome addition to the multiplexes. Some are so funny they leave you gasping for air, the dirtier, the bigger the laugh.  Nice, ordinary characters are trapped in crazy situations in which their ideas and values are turned on their heads, resulting in a new attitude and healthier view of life.

That’s good stuff. Here, however, situations are piled on top of each other in a kind of haphazard way; it’s overwrought, loud and unfunny. It just doesn’t work as smoothly and seamlessly as prior R raters. 

It’s not a problem of suspension of disbelief in the concept, or maybe it is, but the writers haven’t tightened and polished their script well enough. 

Its’ messy and shapeless and that’s a real shame given the interesting concept.

It’s also a lazy script.  Coarse language is one thing, but abusing coarse language quite another. They overuse and bash us over the head with the same few dozen or so words in a repetitive and uninspired script. 

Used judiciously, raw language is perfect.  When it replaces actual vocabulary and language, it’s just stuttering.  There’s no wit, subtlety or innate intelligence as in the Hangover Films or Bridesmaids.  It’s so not funny.

If you’re an underage kid wanting a peek at some bosoms, experience a flurry of F-bombs and talk about thumbs up a**holes, this is your film.  If you’re thinking about sneaking in, be warned, that is not allowed.  And you will love it.

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35mm comedy
Written by Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Directed by David Dobkin
Opens: Aug 5
Runtime: 112 minutes
MPAA: Rated R for pervasive strong crude sexual content and language, some graphic nudity and drug use
Country: US
Language: English