Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So the lady at the job comes into work on Monday and she’s steaming. Apparently her husband took their young teenage kids to the show and they chose this one, ‘The Change-Up’. I could only drop my head because ‘The Change-Up’ isn’t a film I would call ‘Family Friendly’, but this is what my man took his kids to see. But the problem isn’t that this cat took his kids to see this collection of bad taste, profanity and nudity… no sir… the problem is that this ladies fifteen year old son ratted his old man out. At least as far as I see it that’s the problem. I have a fifteen year old boy too, and do you think he told his mom about that trip to the Asian spa we took a couple of weeks ago? No he didn’t, because my son has been raised properly. Unbelievable.

Dave (Jason Bateman) is a hard working, intelligent, highly successful lawyer married to his beautiful wife Jamie (Leslie Mann) with a young precocious daughter in Cara (Sydney Rouvier) and infant twins. His life is hectic and insane, but he loves his family and his job, though he wouldn’t mind a break every now and then.

His lifelong best friend Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) is none of that. He’s afraid of responsibility, he’s afraid of commitment, he has a different woman every night, he smokes dope, he has no sense of decorum or proper behavior and he drives a Fiero. Outside of the fact that he’s good looking, in almost any society Mitch is a loser but he would like very much not be a loser anymore.

As you already know, this is one of those switcheroo movies that got real popular in the late eighties and early nineties that I thought had finally died off with that Jamie Lee Curtis movie ‘Freaky Friday’, but I’d be mistaken yet again. Without getting into the hows and the whys of how it happened, Now Dave is Mitch and Mitch is Dave. Let the wackiness begin.

And oh… does it begin. Dave has a big mega merger to close. Mitch, as Dave, screws that all up. Mitch, a struggling actor, has a career making role to audition for. Dave, as

Mitch, doesn’t completely screw it up but he was none too happy performing in a ‘light porno’ movie. In addition to destroying Dave’s career, Mitch, as Dave is also messing up his family life considering that juggling a wife and three kids is a something that one just cannot walk into, especially if you’re a loser. Dave is kind of screwing up Mitch’s personal life too, but it’s minor in the grand scheme of things.

Of course priority number one is making the switch back, but after a while it’s not so bad. Mitch is taking to the responsibility of being Dave just a little bit. Dave likes the freedom, and he particularly likes that his beautiful assistant Sabrina (Olivia Wilde), who Dave, when he was Dave, had a little crush on, seems to like Mitch, who is now Dave, and Sabrina likes uncomplicated sex. Like that made any kind of sense. I’m not rewriting it though.

But it’s all about what’s really important in life and being true to yourself. So after every character in this movie over the age of fifteen uttered different variations of the word ‘fuck’ at least roughly three hundred times, this is what they are telling us. It’s all about family, honesty, and being true to yourself. Outstanding.

If you’ve ran into some the typo ridden pages I’ve hacked out over the years, you may have stumbled across Chris’s First Rule of Comedy. If not, I’ll tell you what it is and it’s the gospel. Dookey isn’t funny. People getting shatted on isn’t funny. Never has been, never will be. Dookey isn’t funny. If you have a scene centered around Dookey in the slam bang comedy that you’re writing, excise it immediately because ‘Dookey Isn’t Funny’. How many times do I have to keep saying this?

Okay, while Dookey isn’t funny, ‘The Change-Up’ is funny. Very funny at times. Yes, it’s completely tasteless, it’s rude, it has an extended scene of baby dookey which wasn’t funny, it uses the word ‘fuck’ as a crutch… I mean you could probably hang out at a porn convention where the word ‘fuck’ is relevant to their jobs and not hear it as much as you will hear it during the 100 minute running times of this movie. Yes, the concept of the old switcheroo is about as fresh as the out of control cop that doesn’t play by the rules, the movie walks along a narrative path that is predictable to a fault and it probably runs a good twenty minutes too long... Seriously, how much zany wacky mayhem can one man stand? But it did make me laugh.

You can thank ‘The Hangover’ for this. Most folks thought this was the summer of the Superhero movie, but actually it’s the summer of the over the top, tasteless comedy. Since ‘The Hangover’ was such a success, actually remaking itself with ‘The Hangover 2’, now everybody needs to make one of these, and a tasteless comedy is cheaper than a superhero movie so expect a lot more of these to come down the pike. But this was funny. Made me laugh more that ‘The Hangover 2’ did,  more than ‘Horrible Bosses’ did, more than ‘Bad Teacher’ did, and whatever other tasteless comedy that surfaced this summer that I can’t remember right now. I don’t think it’s a better overall ‘movie’ than those I just mentioned, but it made me laugh more.

Bateman and Reynolds doing what they do, Mann and Wilde showing a little skin. ‘The Change-Up’ isn’t really a good movie… let’s not get crazy… and it’s probably a movie that you shouldn’t round up the kids for family movie night like my man did, but if the goal of this movie was to make me laugh… I cannot lie to you, it did that and then some. And always remember Chris’s First Rule of Comedy.

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