The Change-Up (2011)

The Change-Up (2011)
The Change-Up (2011) DVD / Blu-ray

By: BabyRuth (Six Pack) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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The ol’ body-swapping premise gets a post-Apatow hard-R update when two thirty-something buddies who envy each others’ lives are granted their wish of having said lives after pissing in a magic fountain (Don’t ask how, it’s not important or addressed).

“Hey fountain lady, you grant wishes for piss? Piss?  Sicko.”

A Toast

Trying to find something good to say about The Change-Up is like trying to find something good to say about constipation.  Both are uncomfortable, annoying, and you can’t wait for them to be over.

Wait, I got it.

Anything chocolate can’t be all bad.

The Change-Up has a great cast of likeable and talented comedic actors.  Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, and especially Leslie Mann (who always does the most with whatever role she is given, no matter how much better she deserves) save this movie from being completely unwatchable.  Bateman and Reynolds should be commended for their ability to play such unlikeable characters without making the viewer pray someone pushes them into the fountain along with a plugged-in hairdryer.

Okay, so I thought that a couple times, but then I thought of this stuff.

Beer Two

Yup, what you’ve heard is true.  It’s that awful.  Somehow Hollywood has managed to take a tried-and-true movie premise, top-notch actors, and millions of dollars and create a big steaming pile of excrement (yes, that was my second reference to poop–I’m keeping in the spirit of the movie).  Not that it should be any surprise.  This has been happening for years.  Hot Tub Time Machine anyone?  

With a few exceptions, the wave of high-budget vulgar R-rated comedies seems to get worse and worse with each subsequent one since the perfectly balanced and hilarious There’s Something About Mary set it off back in 1998.  The difference between that movie and slop like The Change-Up is that while it contained some crude humor, it was actually funny and the sight gags weren’t there just to be there.  There was build-up to them and they worked in the context of the scenes.  Think of the “franks and beans” scene.  It was already hilarious when the actual “franks and beans” were simply implied, in fact, no one was expecting them to actually be shown, so when that two-second close-up appeared, it was so unexpected and revolting that it made the scene even funnier.

These days, movies skip straight to the crude sight gag and the audience is just supposed to laugh at it because it’s grostesque.  The problem is there is no payoff without build-up.  Such as in the first five minutes of The Change-Up when Jason Bateman’s character gets hit in the face with projectile baby poop (I’m sure you’ve heard about this scene by now).  Then, a moment later, to hammer it home, another stream lands directly in his mouth.  The gag (pardon the pun) falls flat as it is the result of lazy screenwriting combined with the need to up the ante on the grossness factor.  The rest of the movie is more of the same uninspired toilet humor.  It’s a shame, because many parts had the potential to be funny had they just reeled it in a little.

“Shit!  Even we can’t make this funny!”

Beer Three

Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck. Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck. Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.

Above is the word “fuck” written 104 times, the exact number of instances of the word in The Change-Up.  (According to the Parental Guide on the imbd.com – I’ll take their word, I wouldn’t want to go back and rewatch the movie to count for myself.)  It’s another example of the more-is-funny mentality of this movie.  Only it’s not funny.  It’s grating and the word loses it’s effectiveness after the first ten times.  Not to mention, no real, or even fictional (including the cast of “The Sopranos”) person uses the word that much.  One certainly wouldn’t use it in a legal proceeding, even if they weren’t really an actual lawyer.  One would know better right?  Not in The Change Up.  Hilarious, huh?  Fuck no.

Beer Four

The CGI’d dancing baby on Ally McBeal freaked me out.

The CGI’d E*Trade baby freaks me out.

CGI’d babies are creepy.

Do CGI’d babies creep you out too?  Imagine two of them.  Imagine CGI’d baby buttholes.  Imagine CGI’d babies banging their heads against a crib.  Imagine CGI’d babies playing with knives and blenders.

Beer Five

Oh look, it’s Olivia Wilde.  Again.  I just saw her last week in Cowboys & Aliens.  And on three magazine covers. And on E!  Can’t fault the girl for taking advantage of being in demand, but when people start wondering where Megan Fox has been, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re a tad overexposed.

Speaking of her character, another overused gimmick in the new breed of comedies is the tough-talking, comfortable-with-her-sexuality, “cool” girl.  In the past couple weeks alone we’ve just seen similar characters in Bad Teacher and Friends With Benefits.  It was refreshing at first, but it’s grown into as much of a stereotype as the rom-com career-driven gal who really just wants to get married.  Wow, the hot girl drinks Scotch over wine!  Wow, the hot girl gets a tattoo on her vagina!  Wow, the hot girl likes sex like guys do!  She’s so hot, and awesome, and not girly!  Yawn.  Is it too much to ask for an actual fleshed-out female character that isn’t one extreme or the other?

One last comment on this.  It’s time to retire the saying something shocking and then saying “I’m just messing with you” immediately after thing.  (Again going back to There’s Something About Mary—it worked there because it was fresh.  Not so much anymore.  It needs to go away along with “I just threw up in my mouth a little.”)

Beer Six

After pummeling the viewer with unrelenting poop jokes, f-bombs, boobs, disturbing sexual situations,  penis jokes, ball jokes, creepy CGI babies, more poop jokes, masturbating gags, and more boobs for ¾ of the nearly two looonnnggg hours of this uh, “film,” the story pulls a 180 and decides it’s time to get mushy and make some profound statement about being a better person and appreciating what you have instead of wanting what others have.  It doesn’t work because neither of the two men are likeable enough for anyone to care about what happens to them or to believe that they’re suddenly changed for the better.  The only good thing about the change in tone (You’ll know when it is because the sappy music will start playing in the background. That’s how much faith this movie has in the viewer.) is that it’s an indication that this mess will soon be over.

Verdict

Avoid The Change-Up at all costs and instead watch any other body-swapping movie ever made (really, any of them) or any other film starring Ryan Reynolds or Jason Bateman.

Yes even this one.

 Bonus Drinking Game

 Take a drink: every time someone says “fuck”

Take a drink: every time a naked breast is shown.

I’d keep going, but you’re probably passed out by now.

 

Last Call: Oh look, it’s Olivia Wilde.  Again.

 

About BabyRuth

Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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