Review: The Change-Up
Is it weird I miss your penis?
Comedies are a difficult thing to execute. Not only do they have to be funny, they have to hold up on repeat viewings. The Change-Up is hilarious the first time and less so a second.
The premise sees Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) as a married man with two kids and a stressful job. Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) is Dave’s best friend; a lazy man-child who screws anything and has a father (Alan Arkin) who disapproves of him.
One night, after a round of drinks, they piss into a fountain wishing they had each other’s lives and that wish is granted the next morning.
It’s not the most original concept, but The Change-Up at least takes it in a different direction by making it filthy, raucous and depraved, stretching the low-brow humour of the Bridesmaids toilet scene to a whole film.
The Change-Up loves its filth, taking any opportunity to (literally) shit in someone’s mouth. Reynolds’ Mitch is a confident, insensitive man with little self-awareness. Bateman’s Dave is a workaholic and when they switch it causes them to reassess their priorities with both of them realising their selfish ways.
That soft centre exists can jar, especially in a film in which has a character stick a finger up a someone’s ass or Leslie Mann‘s excruciatingly noisy trip to the toilet then. The Change-Up’s sense of humour doesn’t sit too well with its more maudlin moments. It’s syrupy and hackneyed in places, but it’s fun if you share its silly sense of humour.
It’s no surprise to see that this film is from the scribes of The Hangover Part II, the sequel that mined Bangkok for every lazy joke it could. This film doesn’t turn its characters into irritating idiots but it does share its affinity for nudity, broad cultural jokes and a redemptive storyline that’s visible from years away. If you like depraved antics, The Change-Up is definitely your kind of comedy. If you want something smarter, head in any other direction.