Universal // 2011 // 118 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 8th, 2011
Who says men can't change?
Out: Rubber nipples. In: CGI nipples.
That's right. Olivia Wilde has computer generated nipples applied to her in The Change-Up. Unfortunately, that's the most noteworthy element of this film, a comedy that treads familiar ground and tries to out-R The Hangover.
Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) and Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern) tag-team this as best friends Dave and Mitch. Dave is family guy, holding down a stressful but lucrative job, while trying to grind out a marriage. Mitch is the care-free bachelor who burns through his life sleeping with random women and disappointing his father. The two are secretly unhappy with their existences and, following some weird mojo with a magic fountain, switch places. It's freaky! (But I'm not sure if it happened on a Friday.)
I'll give this much to The Change-up -- it embraces its R rating and there are a handful of genuine laughs. Alas, that's where my accolades draw to a close.
While not the brain-stab so many "hard comedies" tend to be, Reynolds and Bateman's effort is too predictable and not nearly funny enough to earn passage into The Land of Movies That You Should Care About.
I'm no hater. I requested this disc for review, being a fan of both of the leads. The supporting cast isn't bad either, headlined by a thankfully toned-down (and inhibition-free!) Leslie Mann as Dave's exasperated wife. Olvia Wilde is fine, but I think we've reached a saturation point with her. The script places Bateman and Reynolds into a handful of humiliating, envelope-pushing gags and good on them; they're game for it.
That's the good news. The bad news is most of these gross-out gags fall flat or come across as contrived to keep pace with the likes of The Hangover (the writers of which, scripted The Change-Up). What works? Mitch's galling experience with a "light porn." What doesn't? Projectile baby poop in the mouth.
I can live with the uneven slapstick/success ratio. What's crippling is the crushing predictability of it all. The body switcheroo conceit has obviously been flagellated over the years, but that's not news; Hollywood has been in full-on recycling mode for a decade now. It's the character arcs that are so hammy and obvious. So, what do you think, does Dave eventually realize he has something good with his family and if he just listened to his wife once in a while he'd have a fantastic marriage? Or Mitch comes to the shocking conclusion that there might be something to this monogamy thing, especially if there's a girl who's smart, gorgeous, funny, and likes going to baseball games? I'll let you tease out the solution to these perplexing riddles.
Finally, the CGI breast enhancements. Has it come to this?!
Universal's Blu-ray is solid, starting with a clean, colorful 2.40:1/1080p (VC-1 encoded) transfer. A DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track bats in support with a low key, yet effective audio mix. Extras: the original theatrical release (the unrated version has five extra minutes of footage), a director's commentary, one deleted scene, a gag reel, a standard issue making-of featurette, a segment looking at the infamous poop-in-the-mouth sequence, a DVD copy, a digital copy, and BD-Live content.
Potty language and a tablespoon of laughs aren't enough to compensate for the formulaic plot and trying-too-hard shock humor.
Guilty. Maybe you should have tossed the splitter.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (French)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English, Descriptive)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 118 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Theatrical Version
* Deleted Scene
* Gag Reel
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy