Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rath's Reviews: The Change-Up

Have you ever seen a movie where it is just too over the top? One where it seems that every other word is a curse word, specifically the F-word, and really for no particular reason? One where it is unnecessarily crude, vulgar, and frankly...gross? Well I have, and it is called The Change-Up. Starring Ryan Reynolds as Mitch and Jason Bateman as Dave, this movie is easily one of the most R-rated movies I have ever seen. Usually that would not be a problem for me (i.e. Piranha 3D), but this movie just doesnt have the reasoning to be as crude and gross as it is, and to be completely honest I am pretty disappointed. I really thought that with the director of Wedding Crashers and the writers of The Hangover (easily two of the funniest movies in the last 10 years), not to mention two great comedic actors in Reynolds and Bateman, that this movie would soar. I had hopes that it would be the funniest movie of the summer, it definitely had the potential to. But ultimately it comes off as a movie that would rather push the limits and see how offensive it can get, rather than make you laugh.

Ryan Reynolds cursing at children...not all that funny
For starters, the characters Dave and Mitch are too extreme. Mitch is a huge tool, and almost immediately unlikable, while Dave is a workoholic, top-of-his class, lawyer. Remind me why these two are friends again? And once the switch happens, then I started to hate Mitch in Dave's body and Dave in Mitch's body was just as annoying as before. To me, that shows the acting talent of Reynolds and Bateman in that they can act like each other pretty fantastically, and switch my emotions towards each character with a matter of a couple lines of dialogue. Which reminds me, the script is pretty bad. Filled left and right with curse words, some of which are directed towards the twin babies and said in front of children, the film just tries too hard to cuss. I have always been a supporter of cursing in comedy. It can be an absolutely hilarious tool when used at the proper moment and in the proper context (see The Hangover and Step Brothers). But when it is tossed around like a joint at a Boulder 4/20 celebration, it becomes useless and tiresome. The same can be said for "gross-out" moments. I usually dont have a problem with them, they can be funny when used appropriately, but when they just keep happening, it gets old. Off the top of my head I can think of three major gross out moments in The Change-Up with other smaller ones scattered in, and quite honestly, they dont mesh with the story, and are not necessary.

Workaholic Dave. *Note: no children were harmed in the making of this film. Or at least I dont think so.*
"You just said the F-word! OMG!"

However, the movie does have its bright spots that shine on through the cussing, grossness, and disappointment. There are definitely some funny parts, my favorite of which is a Mitch-In-Dave's-Body office chair scene where I was nearly crying as he tried to adjust it to the right height. The switching bodies plot is well done (the basic premise of the movie is that Mitch and Dave wish they had each other's lives and mysteriously it comes true...if you have seen Freaky Friday you can figure out the rest) and I liked the way that the two men realize that they need to switch back...which brings me to the highlight of the movie. There are certain scenes where the vulgarity dials down, cussing is put somewhat on the backburner, and the moral of the story comes through. When Dave is enjoying a stress-free life for a few days, Mitch is learning to be a man, Dave's date with Sabrina, and finally the moment where Mitch is being awarded the lawyer partnership while Dave is having a sexual encounter with Sabrina (keep in mind I am referring to who is inside the bodies, not whose physical bodies they are. Confusing I know). In all of these moments, it was clear that there was a GREAT movie lying underneath all the crap. These are the moments where we learn about the characters, and we are presented with the morals of the story: appreciate what you have, take time to focus on what is important in life, and changing yourself is not always a bad thing. The lessons learned resonate strongly, and even somewhat emotionally once they are presented, but then are quickly undercut by more cussing or gross activity.

Lastly, I have to take the time to congratulate Olivia Wilde for directly threatening Blake Lively's position as my "Angel #0". She has never looked more gorgeous than she does in this movie, not to mention she acts her part well, and very convincingly too. It makes me wonder if she is somewhat like her character, Sabrina, in real life, which, if you see the movie, would be a dream come true. Seriously, how does someone look this good? It makes my heart hurt...

To sum it all up, The Change-Up was disappointing. In a summer with some great R-rated comedies, I thought The Change-Up had a chance to be the best or certainly near the top. But due to an over abundance of crude language, lewd situations, and just a whole bunch of "unnecessary" mixed in there, it ends up losing the switcharoo-genre game to Freaky Friday.

And when you are losing that game to Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, you ought to know that its time for a change-up.


  • Olivia Wilde and her direct challenge to Blake Lively as hottie-of-the-summer
  • Some funny parts -- hilarious office chair scene
  • I learned some new curse words combinations that aren't from my brother and the firestation
  • Well made movie from a production standpoint
  • Has underlying hints of greatness with great lessons to teach coupled with some emotionally packed scenes
  • Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman save the movie, everyone else's acting is great as well.
  • Olivia Wilde again
  • Too vulgar
  • Too much cussing
  • Too many gross-out scenes
  • All of the above are mostly unnecessary
  • Movie reeks of disappointment

Rath's Review Score: 6/10

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