Review: “The Change-Up” – Susan Granger

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Gimmicky body-switch comedies like “Freaky Friday,” “All of Me” and “Big,” have become a genre unto themselves. This time, the unwitting anatomy swappers are immature, idiotic, irresponsible bachelor Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and uptight, wealthy, workaholic lawyer Dave (Jason Bateman). Dave and his wife (Leslie Mann) are the parents of three youngsters, including a set of infant twins. Living in Atlanta and improbable buddies since childhood, their lives have obviously gone in diametrically different directions.

Following a drunken spree and simultaneously muttering “I wish I had your life,” Mitch and Dave pee in a public fountain that’s dominated by a stone statue of Metis, the cunning Greek goddess of counsel, advice, and planning. Suddenly, there’s a lightning bolt and power failure and – presto! – they awaken inhabiting each other’s bodies, examining their ‘new’ genitalia. Predictably, as they continue to explore their radically different lifestyles, each discovers that what he envied about his friend’s existence isn’t really as terrific as he’d imagined. Not surprisingly, when – finally – they regain their original personas, they’re not only relieved but also grateful for what they have.

R-rated screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore did far better with “The Hangover,” as director David Dobkin did with “The Wedding Crashers.” I doubt that any of them will feature this contrived, stale comedy prominently on their resumes, particularly if anyone ever recalls the regrettable opening scene in which Dave gets hit in the mouth by a kid squirting a diaper poop projectile.

Ryan Reynolds (“The Green Lantern”) and Jason Bateman (“Horrible Bosses”) worked together previously in “Smokin Aces” (2006) and they perform creditably in this instance, playing against type. Comedienne Leslie Mann (a.k.a. Mrs. Judd Apatow) repeats the same long-suffering wife role she played in “Knocked Up” and “Funny People.” Unfortunately, Alan Arkin’s talent is totally wasted as Mitch’s estranged father. But beautiful Olivia Wilde (“Cowboys & Aliens”) scores as Dave’s sexy legal assistant.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Change-Up” is a crass, crude, vulgar 4. It’s a raunchy repeat of what’s been done – far better – before.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.