DVD Review: The Change UpIt’s fair to say the film is not really a highlight of the careers of those involved.

Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds are both capable comedy actors, but there is something about The Change Up that just doesn’t sit right and I can’t help but think they are better than this.

I think part of the problem is down to the fact that The Change Up is not quite sure of its target audience. While it promotes itself as a quirky comedy about swapping lives with someone, some of the humour is completely baffling and gave me the distinct impression that it was just being outrageous for the sake of it. Or perhaps to avoid comparisons to the more family friendly 17 Again?

It promotes itself as something that might appeal to the masses, but some of the humour is just needlessly crude and to be honest, bordering on quite offensive.

The plot itself is fluffy and predictable enough. Jason Bateman plays the dedicated family man Dave Lockwood, committed to his wife, kids and working his backside off to better their lives and on the flipside there is Ryan Reynolds character, Mitch Planko – a lazy carefree stoner, not afraid to upset people and generally does what he wants.

Best mates, they catch up with each other over a few drinks, watch a game of baseball, get drunk and then piss in a fountain by a statue, where in unison they both state they’re jealous of each other and wished they had the others life. Hey presto! The next morning, they have swapped bodies and are leading each others lives.

So far, so predictable. However, it’s around this point the film goes from fairly daft to completely bonkers, jettisoning all reason and rationality for outrageous revelations that go completely against character.

The main victim of this skewed perspective is the character Mitch, the carefree stoner. Naturally, being the rebel he needs to swear all the time infront of Dave’s wife (comedy rent-a-mum Leslie Mann) and their 3 children – a decision I suspect the scriptwriters took to make the film seem edgy, which sadly falls flat.

But to make matters worse, with Dave trapped in Mitch’s body we learn what Mitch actually does with his time and it is just utterly ridiculous.

One scene, it is revealed that Mitch has a thing for a girl named Tatiana, who visits him on Tuesday nights for some casual sex. When she arrives, there’s a twist that is so unrealistic it’s quite insulting not only to the audience but to I imagine, a lot of women.

Now, I have no doubt that if you’re reading this I’m coming off as a bit of a prude and I sound like I need to lighten up. Maybe I do, but when a film has humour that cut’s itself pretty close to what is socially acceptable, it shouldn’t need to rely on CGI babies violently head butting things, throwing knives and projectile crapping in peoples faces.

As I said, it’s as if the makers didn’t know what demographic they were targetting, so they went for them all. It’s a confusing experience and left me scratching my head on several occasions.

Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman

Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman

Leslie Mann as Jamie Lockwood

Leslie Mann as Jamie Lockwood

Olivia Wilde as Sabrina McArdle

Olivia Wilde as Sabrina McArdle

Some films can carry off various blends of comedy – Bridesmaids for example appealed to the masses because of it’s broad sense of humour, but the tonal shifts in The Change Up come off clunky in comparison.

I have to say that is is not all bad.

Once again Leslie Mann puts in a decent enough performance as the hard done by mother, Jamie Lockwood – even if it is a role that she risks being typecast in. It’s also good to see Olivia Wilde further making a name for herself as Dave’s attractive legal associate, if only because it gives the audience a break from the some of the moronic humour.

Maybe I’ve been too harsh on The Change Up and I really didn’t get it, but I expected more from Bateman and Reynolds to be honest. As I said earlier they are fairly capable comedy performers, but The Change Up lets them down with it’s formulaic plot and it’s comic handling.

Film rating: [rating=2]

Special Features:

  • Theatrical Feature and Extended Feature
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Fist Fight
  • Gag reel

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.