Friday, 21 June 2013

No.105 : The Change-up

The Change-up at the IMDb

One word or two? Hyphen says one!

Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman star in this high concept body swap comedy.

The pair play life-long friends with Bateman a successful lawyer with three kids while Reynolds has an enviable loafer lifestyle devoid of commitment or worry. The two discuss their lives over some beers and when they take a piss in a fountain their expressed dream of wanting the other’s life is granted by the statue looking down over them. OK it’s a lot of twaddle but at least they mock the plot themselves when explaining the situation to the wife.

What happens next is essentially two fish out of water stories for the price of one as the slacker has to cut it in the corporate world while the lawyer has to try his hand at soft porn and bedding sluts. It is better than it sounds but you can probably guess that both learn to appreciate what they have and to be more considerate to others. Again this sounds terrible but for compensation there is also swearing, ample nudity and a baby that projectile shits into someone’s mouth.

The plot is easily covered in a couple of paragraphs but there is a lot to recommend the film not least the two leads who seem to be having a lot of fun with the sometime ribald material. Bateman is always good value and he does well shifting gears from the stuffed shirt to the layabout who sometimes manages to outwit rooms full of high flying merger analysts. Reynolds gets more of the fun as the slacker who has small time acting jobs in low budget pornos. He also has some funny scenes with a heavily pregnant love interest and with Bateman’s wife who really should learn to close the bathroom door.

To pad things out there is also a couple of subplots one of which involves Bateman’s co-worker Olivia Wilde whom he arranges a date with Reynolds whose body he presently inhabits. That’s the trouble with these body swap films it always sounds more complex than it is and I for one need to keep reminding myself that he’s not who he looks like, he’s the other one. The film addresses this towards the end as a panning shot shows our men alternate between their real and assumed persons as people pass by.

The message of the film is signalled from the off with Bateman not appreciating his family and Reynolds’ avoiding his father’s (Alan Arkin) wedding  - both could do with a wake up! The power behind the switch is never addressed and it really doesn’t need to be - it’s basically an excuse for two hours of growth, values and toilet humour.

Overall the film is a bit too long to maintain its thin plot and although well made and offering a liberal sprinkling of sex and vulgarity it could have done with some tightening up. That’s said it was far better than I was expecting when it started with some nappy changing and there were enough surprises, mostly naked ones, to keep me watching.

THE Tag Line - Boobs, Bonding and Baby Shit  69%

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