August 7, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
Freaky Friday for adults, Face-Off but a comedy, The Hot Chick minus Happy Madison. The Change-Up will probably remind audiences of something they’ve seen before, and it’s no wonder because the body swap concept has been explored by entertainment media often in the past. This time the body switchers are comedy vets Jason Bateman, hot off last month’s Horrible Bosses, and Ryan Reynolds, who after a venture into superhero territory as the Green Lantern, returns to a more familiar role and genre.
There are a handful of parts throughout The Change-Up that aren’t that funny, but the film is hurting for laughs most when Bateman and Reynolds play their original characters. While Horrible Bosses was definitely the better executed comedy, Jason Bateman’s performance in The Change-Up, especially as Ryan Reynolds’ character, was clearly the superior.
Similar things could be said about Reynolds, who also thrives in his switched body role and not as his extremely obnoxious original one. Leslie Mann, a prominent character in many comedies nowadays probably thanks to help from husband Judd Apatow, shows off her acting chops; meanwhile, like in Cowboys & Aliens, Olivia Wilde and her CGI nipples are there too, but I’m not complaining.
And I’m not really complaining about The Change-Up for the most part. It’s entering the fray as an R-rated adult comedy during a summer that’s already saturated with them and still not done with them yet with 30 Minutes or Less set to release next week. The Change-Up is able to fit in nicely with its peers despite being bookended by a somewhat faltering beginning and end (even the mid-credits stinger wasn’t worth staying for).
At least director David Dobkin delivers a film more enjoyable than his most recent work, the forgettable family comedy Fred Claus. Even though The Change-Up revisits the raunchy level of Dobkin’s smash hit Wedding Crashers and the co-writers’ even bigger hit The Hangover, overall it falls short of both popular successes. The Change-Up gets 3.0 out of 5 stars or B- or Good.