The Change-Up

Directed By: David Dobkin

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, and Olivia Wilde

Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde cannot put out a good film this year.  Green Lantern and Cowboys & Aliens— films starring Reynolds and Wilde respectively — have been critically panned and have had anything but stellar performances at the box office.  For The Change-Up, they bring Jason Bateman and Leslie Mann into their slump.  The Change-Up is a heartwarming, wholesome comedy trying to masquerade as a wild, raunchy affair.  It fails to really be either.  It could have worked if writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore would have stepped their game up a notch or two.

Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (Jason Bateman) have been best friends for their entire lives.  Mitch is an unemployed actor with no career prospects whatsoever.  Mitch uses his free time well though.  He enjoys the single life as a bachelor.  Dave is an attorney on the verge of making partner at his firm after a 9-year tenure there.  He's married and has three kids.  Between his work and family lives, Dave has no time to live for himself.  One night, the two best friends are hanging out and having some drinks at a bar.  They trade stories about their lives, and then wish they had each other's life.while taking a bathroom break at a statue.  Magically, they wake up the next morning and have switched bodies.  We then find out whether the wish was genuine.  You can predict the rest of the plot.

The biggest problem with this film is the script.  It dances between a sugary family theme and trying to be the next The Hangover (no pun intended since the film was written by the same folks who wrote The Hangover).  Only one can be done. A film cannot be both heartwarming and crude.  The Change-Up can't be both Meet the Parents and Old School.  There are too many tonal shifts that can't be nimbly navigated by the filmmakers and actors.  It just doesn't work, and writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore should know this.

The Change-Up is an attempt at a raunchy version of the classic body switch comedy in the tradition of films like Freaky Friday and Big.  Given the promotion of the film and its stars, I think there were high hopes for this flick.  Unfortunately, the film straddles the line between a wholesome comedy with a theme and a raunchy R—rated  affair too much.  The movie consequently has failed the Sobriety Test.  The Change-Up gets a 0.09% rating.