[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B006YVVMHO][/pullquote] Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds have built their careers from comedy roots. Bateman starred in Dodgeball, Starsky and Hutch and acclaimed television show Arrested Development. Reynolds’s first taste of success was the TV show 2 Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place before his first film starring role Van Wilder. Both men have a natural charisma that pours through the big and little screens, although both have made some bad career choices, most notably Green Lantern and Horrible Bosses. They are put together in The Change-Up a rehash of the film Visa Versa… and Big… and Freaky Friday… and, well you get the point.
Dave Lockwood (Bateman) is a married man with 3 kids and a respectable job as a lawyer. Mitch Planko (Reynolds) is a single, womanising out of work actor. Friends since college, the two men go out on the town and drunkenly wish they could swap lives while urinating in a fountain. The next morning both men wake-up to find that their wish has come true and must adjust to the difference lifestyles of one another.
As already mentioned, the ‘body swap’ narrative has been used time and again by Hollywood as a way of showcasing the comedy talents of the leads. Whether it’s Tom Hanks’ man-child in Big, or Jennifer Garner’s adult-to-teenager switch in Freaky Friday, the stories are as common place as the most overplayed plots. The Change-Up plays exactly to type, with no originality other than perhaps a ruder, more push-the-envelope approach to language and scenes involving children.
It’s funny in parts, although once again both mens’ talents are wasted on a script that takes too long to get where it needs to go. At just shy of two hours, around 20 minutes of cutting would’ve made it far breezier affair. The casting choices are fun, with both leads playing against type, although the supporting cast is predictably two-dimensional with both Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann doing little to enhance their standing in Hollywood. Wilde especially has almost nothing to do other than look attractive.
A formulaic comedy, with some amusing moments, but not nearly enough to justify the running time, The Change-Up is another forgettable film in a steadily increasing line of them from both Bateman and Reynolds.