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August 6, 2011

5

Movie Review – The Change-Up (2011)

by HELEN GEIB

When critics say a movie is review-proof, they mean it will do well at the box office no matter how bad the reviews are. I have my own personal definition of review-proof that operates independently of the standard definition: movies I don’t have anything particular to say about. The current flavor of mainstream Hollywood comedy neatly fits both definitions.

In deference to my lack of anything particular to say about The Change-Up, in place of a normal review I’ve put together a short “mainstream Hollywood comedy” dialogue with a construct of a moviegoer who likes this sort of thing a lot more than I do. Swap out the actors’ names and a few plot-specific details for re-use next time.

DIALOGUE

What’s it about?

High achieving lawyer/married with kids Dave is odd couple childhood friends with unemployed actor/swinger Mitch. A fit of mutual lifestyle envy in front of an otherworldly statue leads to a body-switching scenario. Mitch, who had previously switched bodies with a 12 year old, learns about the value of hard work, or something like that, while Dave learns that it’s good to take a day off once in a while.

Who’s in it?

Jason Bateman is Dave, Ryan Reynolds is Mitch, Leslie Mann is Dave’s wife, Olivia Wilde is Mitch’s new sex partne- er, love interest, and Alan Arkin is wasted in a tiny role as Mitch’s dad.

Let’s cut to the chase. Should I see it?

Maybe.

What kind of answer is that?

Would you prefer “it depends”?

All right, enough with the comedy routine.

No, really, I’m serious. You should see it if you enjoy movies with a lot of…

1) bodily function jokes;

2) crude sexual humor;

3) inappropriate workplace and in-front-of-the-children profanity;

4) gratuitous female nudity; and

5) male bonding through locker-room talk

…and seasoned with a dash of unearned sentimental stuff about family and friendship.

How old are you anyway? You sound like my grandmother.

Next you’ll tell me I can’t take a joke.

Now don’t get all huffy, I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m just saying, a lot of people have told me this is a really funny movie with a good message. Are you really trying to say there’s nothing good about it?

Not at all. There are a few good laughs, for one. For another, it is a good message, even if it isn’t convincingly delivered. And most of all, Bateman and Reynolds are talented comic actors able to pull off playing dual roles: “me” and “him”. Basically there’s just enough good to make it regrettable that so very much isn’t.

1/2 star

**********

The Change-Up‘s stars have been keeping busy. Bateman can be seen right now in Horrible Bosses, Reynolds in Green Lantern, and Wilde in Cowboys & Aliens.


5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 6 2011

    Yup. From what I hear that’s the gist of it. And style you’ve chosen to review the film with was necessary. A terrific review for a terrible film. :O)

  2. Richard Winters
    Aug 6 2011

    That is a very creative and funny review, probably funnier than the movie itself. It always seems like your funniest reviews are when you are doing them on bad movies, so with that in mind I would suggest you go see more bad movies! =)

  3. Helen
    Aug 7 2011

    @Nir: At least no money changed hands, since I caught a preview screening. I can understand why you dislike the switching bodies genre. On paper, it seems like a surefire idea for a comedy, but I can’t think of an example I really liked.

    @Richard: Thanks, I think. ^_^

  4. Aug 9 2011

    This is some real gross stuff they have here but it actually had me laughing mainly because of Reynolds and Bateman’s great performances that seem to be a little bit against type. Good Review! Check out mine please!

  5. Aug 9 2011

    I don’t lay any of the blame with the actors. They were working hard, especially Bateman when he was in “Mitch mode.”

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