By Adam Frazier
Directed by David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers,” “Fred Claus”), “The Change-Up” stars Jason Bateman as a beaten-down family man who accidentally swaps bodies with his best friend (Ryan Reynolds), leading to a series of wildly complex difficulties.
Technically, you would classify Dobkin’s movie as a comedy, though that’s certainly debatable. One of the defining characteristics of a comedy is that it is, in fact, comical – evoking laughter in the viewer.
During the film’s 112-minute duration, I laughed twice – and for very different reasons than being entertained by hilarious jokes. I laughed out of shock, really, at how irresponsible and shamelessly low class Dobkin’s film is – a film that considers horrific parenting as gut-busting comedic touchstone.
Bateman plays the same character he always does – the man of Suburbia who’s at his wits’ end, struggling to find happiness in his existence as a family man.
Then there’s Ryan Reynolds, who channels Van Wilder and makes one dick joke after another. Sometimes he’ll mix it up and throw in a vagina joke or some ass play to keep the audience on their heels. Throw in a “fuckity-fuck-fuck” and you have pretty much every line of dialogue his character delivers.
Then there’s Leslie Mann, who plays Bateman’s wife – and subsequently – every character she’s ever played in a film, just a bit more annoying. Whereas there was real heart to even the raunchiest humor in “Bridesmaids,” Dobkin’s film feels like it was written by 15-year-old boys and produced by a fraternity of douchebags.
Hell, this film makes Todd Phillips’ “The Hangover: Part II” look like “Bringing Up Baby.” The only saving grace is Olivia Wilde – yes, the same Olivia Wilde who stunk up the screen in “Cowboys & Aliens.”
When it became apparent that I wouldn’t be laughing during the film, I decided to focus solely on Wilde’s big green eyes and stare in awe at her beauty — which made the rest of the movie decidedly easier to stomach. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go ahead and post a picture of her, so there’s at least one good thing about this review:
Beyond the fact that the film isn’t funny and features two actors playing the same tired old characters they always play, there might be something salvageable if the script wasn’t the same “body swap” scenario we’ve seen in countless other films. It’s essentially “Big” meets “13 Going on 30″ meets “Freaky Friday” – except not enjoyable.
Compared to this summer’s comedies, “The Change-Up” comes in dead last — yet another strikeout for Ryan Reynolds, who has delivered two of the worst movies this summer (here’s lookin’ at you, “Green Lantern”).