The Change-Up is an Infantile Mess of Frat House Fantasy

The incompetent and filthy offspring of <i>Freaky Friday</i> and <i>Hall Pass</i>.

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Bateman and Reynolds.

The charm, versatility and charisma of Jason Bateman and the camera-ready good looks of Ryan Reynolds should add up to more than a piece of crummy, amateurish junk called The Change-Up. But what else can a discerning filmgoer (I naively presume, perhaps foolishly, there are a few of those left) count on from bogus director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) and sub-mental screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover)? Expect an overwhelming surfeit of incompetence and filth.

In this one-joke frat house masturbatory fantasy about two guys who exchange bodies for no reason except to keep a DOA movie going for almost two hours, even the title makes no sense. There is no such thing as a “change-up.” I could understand “change-over” or “trade-off,” but the invasion of one person’s persona into another person’s frame is not a “change-up.” Never mind. Nothing else jells in this farrago of idiocy, either. Mr. Bateman is Dave, a battered but responsible lawyer, husband and father of three, including a pair of twins, who hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in months. Mr. Reynolds, his best friend since the third grade, is Mitch, a pot-smoking, womanizing, free-spirited bachelor-model-actor (a nice 21st century way of saying “irresponsible, unemployed jerk”). He is a symbol of a former life Dave would like to re-live. Dave hasn’t had time to have sex with his own wife, while Mitch says things to trashy women like “I’d like to strap you to my face and say the alphabet.” One night, after a ball game and a few joints, they pee in a fountain and wish they could trade places. Miraculously, they wake up the next morning in each other’s bodies. Now it is gentle, responsible family man Dave who is talking like a drunken Marine and hangover king Mitch who is forced to attend law firm briefings and burp babies, covered with vomit and diapers filled with what looks like chocolate pudding but isn’t.

The conceit is they look like themselves but talk and act like each other. Dave arrives on a movie set looking like Mitch but to his conservative, button-down horror, it turns out to be a porno film with another man’s finger up his orifices. When the kinky Mitch’s sexy new squeeze shows up for wild, uninhibited sex with Dave, who looks like Mitch, she is nude and nine months pregnant. Meanwhile Mitch, in Dave’s body, tries to keep from sleeping with his best friend’s wife Jamie, played by Leslie Mann, wife of no-talent Judd Apatow and one of the worst actresses in B-movies. Remember her opposite pardon-the-expression Adam Sandler in the abominable Funny People? I couldn’t understand a word she said in that fiasco, and she hasn’t learned a thing since. She sounds like she’s got a mouth full of cotton swabs, stuffed in sideways.

The Change-Up drags on endlessly, held together with scatology, flatulence and masturbation. Everybody gets a chance on the toilet, with all the noise and disgust that graphic bathroom scenes entail. When Mitch tries to teach Dave how to be Mitch by shaving everything off below his Speedo line, and Dave feeds Mitch’s ego with more penis-envy jokes than a bunch of sailors in a locker room, the contrivances pile up like a tower of dominoes. Here is a minor idea with minimal possibilities for mistaken identity routines, plummeting into mind-numbing confusion.  Sooner than you can search the second hand on your watch to see how much more of this you can take, you forget if you are watching Dave in Mitch’s body, or vice versa. It’s worth a chuckle or two to see Mr. Bateman get a chance to be crazy and gregarious, but when will somebody give him a role with some stature? In this sorry waste of time, his energy gets all mixed up with Mr. Reynolds’ pecs and who cares? I finally threw in the towel when Dave, in the body of Mitch, and Sabrina, the sexy law intern in Dave’s office (played by Flavor of the Month Olivia Wilde), who thinks she’s on a date with Mitch, both get their genitals tattooed.

Your move.

rreed@observer.com

THE CHANGE-UP

Running time 112 minutes

Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

Directed by David Dobkin

Starring Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann

1/4

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Didn’t need to read this to know what a pile of garbage it was going to be. The trailer alone made me want to walk out. Well written Rex yet I can’t imagine what a “discerning” film lover like yourself could’ve been thinking to even agree to review it. I”m the editor of a review site down here in Australia and immediately passed this one on to one of my contributors.

  2. Nefariouschafe says:

    No seriously, Rex, tell us how you really feel.

  3. Maryann C. says:

    It sounds even worse than it looked in the trailers, and that is ra-heely saying something. I believe you, Mr. Reed. I believe you.

  4. Harryzulu says:

    People…Save the culture…stop watching crap like this.  I’d love to see an American film again involving grown men.

  5. BenC says:

    Interestingly enough, Mr. Reed’s review of this film was longer than many of the other films  he disliked. 

    Why expend the effort for a film that’s obviously not worth the time?

    1. Because he’s writing a devastating critique of how low this movie goes to entertain the ignorant masses who love this sort of garbage. No film critic today, or in the past 40 years for that matter, writes with such wit and acerbity (and I mean that latter term in a positive way) than Rex Reed. A majority of today’s moviegoers aren’t the least bit discerning about what they see. As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Reed is performing a valuable service. I’ve noticed even The NY Times film critics giving some slack to what are truly very mediocre movies.

    2. Because he’s writing a devastating critique of how low this movie goes to entertain the ignorant masses who love this sort of garbage. No film critic today, or in the past 40 years for that matter, writes with such wit and acerbity (and I mean that latter term in a positive way) than Rex Reed. A majority of today’s moviegoers aren’t the least bit discerning about what they see. As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Reed is performing a valuable service. I’ve noticed even The NY Times film critics giving some slack to what are truly very mediocre movies.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This movie looks like absolute dog excrement, but Mr. Reed, there is such a thing as a “change-up”; it’s a type of baseball pitch.  Not that it matters, the movie looks like something a couple of stupid 13 year old boys would come up with after sneaking a couple of bottles of their mom’s wine cooler stash.

  7. Giacomo says:

    Thank God for Rex.
    Keeping them honest, or trying at least.

  8. tom b. says:

    Does it seem the rate of decline into the cultural sinkhole is accelerating every year…month?  The Hollywood movie industry seems now to be controlled by jaded, warped, sexually perverted and probably drug addled idiots that live in their own anally fixated, excrement obsessed little world.  The scary aspect is that they are working overtime to acclimate our kids to this sick, cynical view of the world, and human interaction.  I love irreverent comedy, and thought the Hangover was great…. conversely, this sort of garbage is just dispicable and grotesque.  None of the characters act or speak like anyone that we might know, or ever care to know.  Isn’t life with no limits, and no censors just great!  I wonder how our country ever survived in those horrible ‘facist’ decades like the 40′s, 50′s, and 60′s without the freeedom to broadcast vile, degenerate media in every direction.  Man were we ‘repressed’, and over-policed…..  NOT!  Its all got to end somewhere, or we will become a very large slime pit…with ‘carnival ticket takers’ sucking our money out at every turn in the name of freedom, and entertainment.  Movies are becoming a cesspool.

  9. K_clark5 says:

    What does the phrase i wanna strap  you to my mouth && say the alphabet mean ? I didnt get it . 

  10. Jgreentx says:

    This movie is absolute TRASH.  It’s also SAD that so many juveniles will be compelled to sneak into this R rated piece of garbage to prove they are “adult”.  If the ratings board had any credibility this should have been rated NC-17 because of its unrelenting wallowing in excrement, perversion, and just really ignorant BAD taste.

  11. Carlosdev says:

    For the record, “Change-Up” is a baseball term describing a pitch that appears to change speeds as it approaches the plate. They’re notoriously hard to hit. You might have noticed that baseball is a theme that runs throughout the movie had you not been busy sharpening your claws.

    This isn’t a very good movie but it isn’t the Antichrist either.  No-talent Judd Apatow? Did you even see “Knocked Up”? And Leslie Mann one of the worst actresses in B-Movies huh? I think that even Ms. Mann would admit she’s not the second coming of Meryl Streep but one of the WORST? I thought she has had some decent moments in her career and even in this movie when the frustration over being second banana to Dave’s creer got the best of her. Maybe you would have liked it more if it had subtitles.

    There was a time that I thought that you were one of the most pretentious, egotistical film critics around, one who clearly didn’t understand WHY people go to the movies and didn’t get the concept that you don’t judge Norman Rockwell and Michelangelo by the same criteria. It’s oddly comforting to know that some things don’t change.

  12. Kim says:

    Jag och sambon gillade verkligen filmen, underhållande och mysig.
     
    So I guess we both sound loco to each other.
     
    =)

  13. Anonymous says:

    it seems that Mr Reed farts in the general direction of this film. 

  14. CountMonteCristo says:

    what a fucking stupid idiot.. whoever wrote this