You know you’re in for trouble when your movie is advertised as a film from the writers of The Hangover and the director of Wedding Crashers. The Change-Up isn’t really either of those films though. It never crosses into completely nutty territory like The Hangover films and it’s not clever enough to be called another Wedding Crashers. It’s really its own film that mainly works because of the chemistry between the two leads and the never ending amount of raunchy and filthy humor that keeps the film quick and painless.
Dave (Jason Bateman) is your working class male who has a lovely wife named Jamie (Leslie Mann) and three beautiful kids. He cares so much about his family that he spends countless hours at the office making sure he can provide them with the best lives possible.
His friend Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) is the complete opposite. Mitch is the irresponsible one who refuses to grow up. By 9am he’s barely getting out of bed. He spends most of his days getting high and playing video games while slowly trying to continue his successful career as an actor, who mostly does commercials, but is close to getting his big break in an “untitled awesome film”.
Mitch and Dave go out for what appears to be an innocent night of drinking and game watching until they end up peeing together into a magical fountain that switches their lives up, putting them in the others body. Mitch wakes up in Dave’s body and Dave wakes up in Mitch’s. Their lives are frantically thrown into mayhem. Dave has a big merger deal that he’s close to closing at his firm while Mitch is finally getting his big break as a Hollywood star. This change-up couldn’t have happened at a worse time, but they are forced to deal with it as they search for this mysterious fountain that has conveniently been relocated to a place unknown after their pee encounter.
The Change-Up plays out exactly how you would expect it to. It takes the familiar body-swap story and turns it on itself. This isn’t your everyday, kid friendly comedy here; this is by the guys who have mastered the R-rated comedy. Crude and inappropriate humor fills most of The Change-Up‘s speedy running time. It knows its boundaries and it never oversteps them in terms of keeping the story light and fun. This kind of in your face, pushing the limits for the maximum amount of laughter isn’t for everyone, but for those who do enjoy the humor you’ll find yourself laughing from start to finish.
Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds are fantastic. The Change-Up is very much a test for both performers to see if they can play against type roles. Bateman, who has been known for playing the always serious oddball, has no problems letting it all hang out when he’s playing Reynolds. He drops F bombs every other minute and is constantly speaking his mind, which is genuinely negative and brutally honest.
Reynolds tones down his usual self when he’s playing Bateman. His word choice and constant worried look is a perfect recreation of Bateman. It seems that both men have absolutely no problem embodying the other for the entire film. There believability is the key to the whole film and it never fails.
Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann have no problems playing the female attractions either. Wilde goes beyond her normal comfort zone as the risky and daring Sabrina; Dave’s co-worker. She’s sexy when she needs to be and funny when she needs to be. Mann continues to bring the jokes as the wife of Dave. She’s a believable mom and a more believable friend thanks to her honesty and ability to give and receive some of the funnier lines in the movie.
The whole film works really well because of director David Dobkin and how he manages to keep things simple and funny. The jokes never fall flat and they maintain a constant darkness to them. Dobkin harnesses Bateman and Reynolds’ bromance-like chemistry without a problem, which keeps things moving until the very end. The Change-Up isn’t the funniest movie of the year, but it’s a lot better than its silly premise makes it out to be.
The Change-Up takes place in the lively city of Atlanta and Universal has no problems bringing the magic to Blu-Ray. The 1080p transfer is warm, bright and full of colorful detail. The Change-Up looks incredibly strong for a comedy that spreads its locations all over the city. You’ll be surprised with how consistent this transfer really is.
The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track doesn’t really continue the “wowing” process though. Like most comedies; the action takes place in the front channels where the dialogue and most of the sound effects can be heard. The rear channels rarely break out, but they chime in occasionally for atmospheric sounds.
The special features on the disc are unfortunately very cut and dry. Not a lot going on here. Check them out below.
- Theatrical (113 minutes) and Unrated (118 minutes) Versions
- Audio Commentary by David Dobkin
- Time for a Change (HD): The cast and crew discuss how different this hard R film is from other switch-up films like Freaky Friday and Face/Off.
- Family Matter (HD): A look at some of the R-rated scenes featuring babies and children.
- Fist Fight Deleted Scene (HD): Probably the weakest scene of the film, thankfully it was cut. It’s an alternate take on the lead up to them switching back.
- Gag Reel (HD): One of the more disjointed gag reels I’ve seen in recent memory. Not all that funny.
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
The Change-Up is one of the most surprising films of the summer. The marketing was horrible and very misdirecting. It didn’t even crack the surface on some of the really funny stuff that is to be had in the film. Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds do a terrific job playing each other and that’s honestly the strongest compliment the film can get. Without the two of them The Change-Up would have easily fell apart. They make the jokes funnier and oddly enough not as stupid.
The film literally opens up right in your face as Bateman gets not only a face full, but a mouthful of baby poop. It’s that kind of dirty toilet humor that carries the film and if you’re into that kind of thing then you’ll really enjoy the film. Those that find that kind of humor stupid or offensive will want to steer clear of this one because it doesn’t have much more to offer. The story is predictable and basic, but it’s the hard R execution that makes this one worthy of watching.
The Blu-Ray features a very lifelike video transfer that is sharp and lacking of any real technical errors and the 5.1 DTS-HD audio track follows the norm when it comes to comedy audio tracks. The special features are short and not really all that interesting. If you enjoy the film then you’ll really enjoy the DVD and digital copy that the Blu-Ray comes with.
If you’re in the mood for an R-rated comedy that’s looking to break the limits then check out The Change-Up. Don’t let the dumb concept and horrible marketing tell you otherwise, the film is a blast to watch and the Blu-Ray disc makes it even better.
The Change-Up is an incredibly raunchy "hard R" comedy that works so well because of its two leads Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds; who completely embody each other; making the film a complete riot.