The Change-Up is a film that takes a very crude slant on the tried and true formula of switching bodies. Featuring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman The Change-Up fails more often then it succeeds. Now that it is on Blu-ray we are offered an obligatory unrated version that tries to push the envelope even further.
The Change-Up is a story about an uptight lawyer named Dave Lockwood (Bateman) and his friend Mitch (Reynolds) who basically has no responsibilities. Dave has a wife, kids and a successful role at a prestigious law firm, and at times he is overwhelmed by it all and wishes he could have a simpler life. Mitch is a sometimes actor that sleeps with random (and kinky) women and just wishes he could have the perfect life he feels Dave has. One night after a long night of drinking they are urinating in a public fountain and say at the same time 'I wish I had your life'. With that begins one of the most unlikely, and at many times insulting, series of events that veers from the successful body formula to the point of failure.
In many movies of this type you see each person trying to do the best they can in the others roles and in the end appreciating their old life and wanting it back. In this movie we see nothing of the sort, instead we see Dave toying with his fantasy of cheating on his wife and Mitch realizing he hated his old life and prefers Daves. In fact one of the few funny things about this movie is that the moral of the story is no one wants Mitch’s life, including Mitch. Over the course of the film we see Dave as Mitch trying to navigate through his ridiculous life of softcore porn and unexpected sex partners and Mitch as Dave screwing up his job and home life. None of these are well orchestrated and generally not funny at all.
That’s not to say there are no redeeming values to the movie, I am a guy so I laughed at some of the really outrageous scenes (and felt guilty afterwards). Also as a shameless guy I have to admit I sat forward a bit during the various nude scenes, in particular the surprising (and I later found out, fake) scenes with Mitch’s wife Jamie (played by the beautiful and under appreciated Leslie Mann). But these scenes were also ones that made me dislike the movie even more. As a guy who follows the ‘bro-code’ you never, ever mess with your friend’s wife and in this movie Mitch (in Dave’s body) was more than willing to have sex with Jamie until she grossed him out. What further turned me off is how little these guys care about each other or the people around them. I can appreciate bad people, I can appreciate bad scenarios, but I just can’t appreciate people liking characters when they are as utterly unlikeable as these two are.