Why is it that all buddy films feature only two types of male leads – the responsible, married type and the usually unemployed man-child? Surely there are other types of guys who become friends? Or is this the only combination that movie goers are interested in watching? Rather limiting, I think. And after a while quite predictable and boring.
David Dobkin’s (Wedding Crashers, Shanghai Knights) film The Change-Up follows along that tired formula with Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern, The Proposal) and Jason Bateman (Paul, Hancock) starring as Mitch and Dave, livelong friends who have drifted apart as they have gotten older due to…let’s call it lifestyle differences.
Dave works as a lawyer, is married to Jamie (Lesley Mann – Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and they have three kids. His life is filled to the brim with family, work and responsibility. Mitch has never really grown up. He doesn’t really work and flits from girl to girl.
Deciding they have not spent enough time together lately the two pals go on a bender in which they end up peeing in a fountain. Somehow that act has caused them to switch bodies and when they wake up the next morning in their friend’s body they freak out. Having to keep their secret until they can figure out a way to switch back, the two initially enjoy the freedom they gain from their own lives but soon discover that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
It is the type of film that critics will hate and audiences looking for an uncomplicated and oftentimes crass laugh will love. Lots of nudity, raunchiness and off colour language (remember that this is from the people behind The Hangover) to be enjoyed or be shocked by it. Film does work the way it is intended to; it just depends on if you like its intentions. Shock value and awkwardness produce most of the laughs. Most of the time I felt that the humour was a little forced, in that they really made the effort to be gross but none of it is really smartly goes beyond society’s mores and boundaries to challenge them. It is really about a father getting baby poo n his mouth. Nothing more delicate or intelligent than that.
Reynolds and Bateman are great in their roles. It is interesting to watch Ryan Reynolds having to be the straight guy whilst Jason Bateman gets to cut loose a little. They carry the film on their shoulders. Lesley Man (Judd Apatow’s wife) does a great job as Dave’s wife making me hope that more comedy film directors will cast her.
- Audio commentary with director David Dobkin.
- Time for a Change
- Family Matter
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes