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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 3.7%
Pretty Bad: 22.22%
Total Crap51.85%

3 reviews, 9 user ratings

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Change-Up, The
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by Erik Childress

"I Don't Want Yer Life, Jon Lucas & Scott Moore!"
1 stars

Hey, remember that raunchy R-rated version of Big that you always hoped Penny Marshall would release as a special DVD edition? No? Maybe it was Vice Versa. Or Like Father, Like Son. No, 18 Again that was it. Or was it 17 Again? Anyways, forget the Disney-fied versions of Jodie Foster and Lindsay Lohan. This is going to be the hardcore Accused vs. I'm-gonna-play-a-porn-star-before-getting-myself-fired Lohan going all out and swapping bodies like a Vivid production of Snatchers. Oh, we're gonna do it with guys? OK, whatever, the married guy vs. the single guy. Finally, an examination of the social moires connected to the life choices of a family man and his slacker best friend. Much more original. Actually, there might just be a movie in there somewhere. Maybe even the kind of truly outrageous comedy the Farelly Brothers used to do, if they didn't already kinda do that movie this year already. It may have even been a comedy...period...if it wasn't dependent on the comic cancer duo of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore as well as one of the most unlikable lead characters in a comedy since 2007.

Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) is the dad who gets up early to take care of his screaming babies so his wife, Jamie (Leslie Mann) doesn't have to. For his troubles he gets powder in his face and projectile poop in his mouth, but at least he has a great job as a lawyer to go to where he is on the verge of partnership. Dave's best friend from college is Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds). He's an out-of-work actor who sleeps late, smokes weed all day, plays with his samurai sword and sleeps with a bevy of hot chicks. Instead of going to counseling with his wife, Dave goes out with Mitch one night and upon peeing in a fountain and simultaneously saying the magic words, "I wish I had your life", each of them wake up the next morning in each other's bodies.

After getting over the shock of this phenomenon, each must man up and go to the other's job pretending to be who they are not. The less said about Mitch's big acting break the better, but we'll get back to it. In the meantime, Dave's body is now spitting out F-bombs and inappropriate sexual innuendoes while the normally active Mitch body is all reserved and too busy trying to get the Dave/Mitch up to speed on his life before he loses his job and gets his children killed. Mitch/Dave's sole responsibility is not losing his 3 AM booty call, a sexual freak named Tatiana (Mircea Monroe) with a trait that the real Mitch left out amongst all the unusual sexual peccadillos they practice. Mitch/Dave even tries to do Dave/Mitch a solid by hooking him up with the ungodly gorgeous Sabrina (Olivia Wilde), a law student that has caught his eye in the office, thus providing him with the guilt-free adultery pass that exists since it wouldn't actually be his penis he is sticking into her.

Too crass? Well, it's nothing compared to the kind of creaky vileness going on in this film. Mitch Planko is like a fruit roll-up of Cameron Diaz's Bad Teacher and a sexual predator fratboy robot whose programming includes nothing but the worst portions of the urban dictionary and a constant study of Adam Sandler's character from I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. Crude language and inappropriate behavior should never be an issue in itself within an R-rated comedy, but how you wield it is another matter. It takes less than 10 minutes of The Change-Up's running time to realize we are not going to like Mitch. How can you when he tells Dave's little girl he can't go to her dance recital because he prefers the kind of dancers with daddy issues that use poles? Maybe if there was some actual reaction by Dave and Jamie towards his insensitive commentary, we could at least accept we were all on the same page, even while still apprehensive about how these three have remained friends since college.

Perhaps it is because these three characters are written as absolute, genuine idiots. Even the down-to-earth, has-it-together Dave is forced to react (in Mitch's body) to Tatiana's big secret as if a married man such as himself hasn't been through that phase. And in his case, THREE TIMES! He does not react like a married man desperately trying to remain faithful, but shocked and then disgusted at the incredibly hot woman who may be ready to eat dick for two. Don't look at me, I'm just following the film's lead. In another 180-degree change of pace, Dave and Mitch actually take to confessing their magical switch to Jamie. Yet they do it in the most boneheaded manner imaginable that if Jamie was the very person to cast the spell she would just assume it didn't work and they were taking the piss out of her. Such an admition can never be an easy thing to believe, but once it is out there and Jamie notices her husband is a complete F-bomb machine who doesn't know "the dinner song" while telling their daughter that "violence solves all problems", she is completely oblivious until her husband's flirtatious pal finally lays a kiss on her? That is grade-A moronic writing.

But what do you expect from the team of Jon Lucas & Scott Moore, them of The Hangover fame. Since nobody chooses to listen when I tell them what an awful unfunny piece of garbage that film is, allow me to remind them they are also responsible for the high-concept failures Four Christmases and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past amongst others. Those were PG-13 efforts though and it appears that Lucas & Moore are really at their true worst when trying to push the envelope of douchebag behavior. Only they would hold the fate of their protagonists through the act of pissing into a sacred fountain. At least we assume its sacred as Dobkin continues to push upon its face like its the Virgin Mary staring at a quadrivium of dicks. OK, so its not Jesus' mom, but those ARE underage girl scouts being the victim of public indecent exposure in the climax. Inventive comedy like that aside, exactly what lessons are we hoping these characters learn? Dave is supposed to reconnect with his wife after learning the joyless existence of a single guy who can sleep forever, screw indiscriminately, read a book and ride go-karts in the middle of a day? Yeah, what a nightmare. And Mitch learns what? Responsibility is good? Which he learns by somehow hitting the books and learning everything in two weeks it took study-hard Dave years of law school to pick up? On behalf of everyone in the audience, kiss our Ivy League, arts school, public college, GED asses!

Further insulting matters is the way that David Dobkin has to stranglehold us into finding a way to give one shit (let alone the two shit jokes used in the film) about these characters. From the very first opportunity the movie forces us to try and sympathize with Mitch and the estranged relationship with his disapproving father (Alan Arkin) by piping in the sad score. This grating, unquestionably phony sincerity is trucked in at so many turns (including a tearful Leslie Mann confessional that somehow leaves out that she already did this whole game with Matthew Perry and Zac Efron) that we just want to slap the composer and punch the director in the mouth for force-feeding an angle that is the equivalent of cinematic rehab that is relapsed on over and over again.

The Lucas/Moore script is a model of glaring inconsistencies. Why is getting a tattoo something that Sabrina "will really regret in the morning" when its already made clear upon first introduction that she already has at least one? But the decision to cast these mixed-matched characters with two actors who ooze the same comedic style and deadpan charm is so off-the-charts wrong it's infuriating. Unlike Face/Off where you have two definitive acting styles in Travolta and Cage that can then create humor out of playful mimicry of one another, Bateman and Reynolds have nowhere to go unless one is playing an exasperated version of oneself. And where is the fun in that? Instead of zeroing in on the little eccentricities of each actor (Bateman's matter-of-factness and Reynolds' Chevy Chase-like mannerisms), Reynolds is forced to amp up the douchebaggery to such an extent that to keep up, Bateman is no longer doing an impression of Reynolds, but of some random asshole we wouldn't hang with past the first introduction. A week after The Change-Up screening, I was able to see a film where Joseph Gordon-Levitt mockily imitates Seth Rogen's usual persona and it produced a bigger laugh than Dobkin hopes to wring out of usually likable actors forced into mismanaged casting of a screenplay that should equally insult every single AND married man who witnesses this catastrophe. They say you have to hit rock bottom before you can find clarity. Well, after their Hangover, Lucas & Moore certainly did it with The Change-Up.

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originally posted: 08/05/11 14:00:00
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User Comments

9/16/12 Eric Stevens When my stomach turns over at Sex & the City sequels- I am hearten'd to know that the male 1 stars
9/22/11 Millie Maelstrom Less forgettable than most body-switching movies, even though Leslie Mann overacted. 4 stars
8/26/11 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne I Like it SO much better after finding how much(&irrationally)it pissed Erik Childress! 4 stars
8/19/11 bob Not too bad when you realize these characters are actually caricatures and probably speak r 3 stars
8/11/11 Jon I actually thought this was hilarious, all the critics are tearing it apart though 4 stars
8/09/11 John Great movie - very funny! 5 stars
8/08/11 danielle heredia awesome movie!!! never seen better! 5 stars
8/08/11 g. Why all the bad reviews by critics here and elsewhere? This movie is HILARIOUS. 5 stars
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  05-Aug-2011 (R)
  DVD: 08-Nov-2011



Directed by
  David Dobkin

Written by
  Jon Lucas
  Scott Moore

  Jason Bateman
  Ryan Reynolds

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