The Change-Up (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/09/2011

One out of Five stars
Running time: 112 mins

Despite the potentially promising pairing of Reynolds and Bateman, The Change Up is something of a disaster, thanks to some atrocious special effects work, painful performances and an appalling, frequently offensive and badly structured script.

What's it all about?
Directed by David Dobkin, The Change Up stars Jason Bateman as Dave, a successful lawyer with a beautiful wife (Leslie Mann as Jamie) and three young children, not to mention an extremely gorgeous assistant at work (Olivia Wilde as Sabrina). Meanwhile, his best friend Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) is an attractive slacker bachelor who has lots of random sex but doesn't seem to be able to settle on what he wants out of life.

However, after a night of drinking, Mitch and Dave take a piss in a magic fountain (yes, really) and simultaneously wish for each other's lives, whereupon they wake up the next morning in each other's skin. When they discover that the magic fountain has been relocated elsewhere, both men realise that they'll have to live each other's lives for a while, with Mitch taking on some responsibility for once, while Dave gets to experience the bachelor lifestyle he'd always envied.

The Bad
Reynolds and Bateman are two of Hollywood's most likeable comic actors but they're both saddled with largely obnoxious and unlikeable characters here, so it's difficult to care too much about whether or not they get to take another magic piss together. Similarly, the script is lazy, frequently offensive and, worst of all, just flat-out unfunny, while also veering quickly away from actually doing anything genuinely subversive with its premise.

It's often said, derisively, that today's Hollywood films are essentially aimed at 14 year old boys. That's certainly true of The Change Up, judging by its gross-out humour (sample gag: a baby poos in Bateman's mouth in an early scene) and its rather offensive treatment of women – for example, an ageing porn star, a naked pregnant nymphomaniac and Leslie Mann's character on the toilet are all milked for repulsion-based laughs, while Wilde's character is pure fantasy material.

The Worse
However, perhaps the film's biggest crime is its disturbing use of CGI – first for some entirely unnecessary shots (in the baby pooping scene, you see a CGI baby's bottom close up beforehand), secondly for some very dodgy “It's okay – we didn't use real babies” moments (involving violence and babies in dangerous situations) and thirdly, for CGI nudity (Leslie Mann's naked breasts are entirely CGI), which sets an extremely worrying precedent and needs to be stamped out immediately.

Worth seeing?
The Change-Up is a painfully unfunny, poorly conceived mess, thanks to a badly written script, poor direction and some dubious CGI work. One to avoid.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 05:18

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