Review: The Change Up

The blog is taking a completely different tone from the last two reviews, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive. It's time to lower the tone a bit with David Dobkin's The Change Up which opens with a baby shitting in Jason Bateman's mouth. I think that's lowered the tone enough. Jason Bateman stars as an uptight lawyer, alongside Ryan Reynolds who plays his slacker, best friend - both unhappy with their lives. When pissing in a magic fountain (yes, really) the two men find they've swapped bodies and are forced to temporarily adapt to each other's lives.

The body swap comedy has been done to death and The Change Up, literally delivers what you would expect. It's fairly crude and brings very little new to the genre. However, it's worth watching alone for the performances of the two leads and the occasionally stand out gag. Reynolds is incredibly likeable as the cliched layabout character, then as the trapped lawyer. One scene in which he needs to perform in a 'lorno' (light porno) with an ageing porn star, under the tyrannical control of an eastern European director is particularly entertaining, although it's relevance in the film leaves some questions. Seeing Reynolds being told to play this old woman 'like an iPhone' still gets some good laughs. Jason Bateman's as the lawyer does not deviate too far from the roles he's used to playing, so it's rather refreshing to see him as the loud mouthed layabout adapting to the high powered legal world.

Leslie Mann also appears as the neglected wife of Bateman's character, which is a surprisingly well written and amusing supporting role. One scene where she pours her heart out to the young babysitter stating she contemplated asking a homeless man for a back-rub because he looked vaguely like Kris Kristofferson, really made me laugh. Olivia Wilde appears, bringing a sex appeal and sophistication to the role of Sabrina, the legal aid.

Despite an incredibly formulaic plot and the occasional predictable gag, The Change Up is mindless fun with thoroughly entertaining performances from the two leads, which justifies the price of an admission. These performances really steer the film, so much so that the somewhat tired concept never bothered me.

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