It would be easy to write off the new film “The Change Up,” as a “Freaky Friday” for adults, or an R-rated take on the classic body switch comedy, but in fact it is a strand in the rise of R-rated comedies to mainstream. Peppered throughout with bare breasts and wildly inappropriate ethnic and racial slurs, along with enough f-bombs to make a marine blush, this film tries to match the manic take of the two Hangover films or even Bridesmaids. While succeeding in getting the audience to laugh, and wince on more than one occasion, where the film falls flat is when it dials back the humor and tries to get sentimental.
Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman portray two lifelong best friends who have taken very different paths in adulthood. Reynolds, a struggling actor and perpetual adolescent, is the polar opposite to Bateman’s high-powered lawyer, who has it all with a family, house and career. Following a fateful night drinking and wishing they each had each other’s lives, they awake to find their wish has been granted, by a magic fountain. While both actors tear up the scenery, and appear to be having a good time playing against type, the plotline is telegraphed ahead and the lessons that will be learned are a bit generic. Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde continue to perform well as second fiddles in this male-centric film, but as long as they cry at the right time they are welcome in a story that leaves little room for a female perspective.
Lacking a perfect combination of gross-out comedy with a quality story that was so well done by Judd Apatow in the 40-year Old Virgin this flick gets relegated to being remembered for a few gross-out, “I can’t believe that just happened” moments. Perhaps the body-switch genre is finally dead?
The Change Up is playing at Landmark Cinemas at El Con Mall, 3601 E. Broadway Boulevard. For showtimes visits Cinemark.com.