Monday, August 8, 2011

The Change-Up - Movie Review

Sigh...for those of you that don't already know, August and early September are the months when the movie studios start dumping all their crap movies that they know weren't good enough to compete with the bigger releases. Every once in a while, you get a sleeper hit, but for most part, this is when the junk comes out.

The one exception to the rule is with comedies. Usually once every Summer, a pretty decent comedy gets released in August. So, when you see a movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman coming out first week of August, you are cautiously optimistic.

The good part with The Change-Up is that you know what your getting into within the first five minutes. The bad part, is that it's not good. Once you see Jason Bateman get a stream of poop in the face, you know you aren't in for a smart comedy. This review is going to sound like a little bit of a rant, but the more I think about it, the more I'm irritated and disappointed by this movie.

The story in The Change-Up is pretty much exactly what you see in the trailer. It's yet another spin on the whole body swapping thing. The difference is here that they swapped Ryan Reynolds' single character with Jason Bateman's married with kids character. You aren't given a lot of information about these guys before the switch. Jason's character is envious of Ryan's single lifestyle, and for some reason Ryan is envious of Jason's. The switch happens shortly after.

One of the weak things about this movie, is that if Ryan was envious of the married with kids lifestyle, they never show a single scene of him liking it. Once he trades places, he seems to hate everything he's asked to do; sometimes outright refusing to help with the kids, forgetting his fatherly duties, being insensitive towards 'his' wife, etc. It seems like the only thing he was interested in was the possibility of having sex with his friend's wife. Classy...

There really isn't much to like about Ryan Reynolds' character. He's lazy, a man-child, has a poor relationship with his own father, and seems to be kind of a freak. His character is so over the top that you have to wonder why he's even friends with Jason Bateman's character, who is a serious, career-focused man. In fact, it's stated several times in the movie that Bateman's character is embarrassed for Reynolds' character. He's called out a few times in the movie for never sticking to anything or following through.

To be honest, while the movie seems to be more about Bateman's character, there's not a lot to like about him either. He's so career-focused that he neglects his wife and kids. At least they give a little bit of background for why this happens. After the switch happens, he doesn't really seize the opportunity to live Reynolds' single lifestyle.

The humor in the movie just crass and immature. I normally don't have an issue with language in a movie, but it's unnecessarily vulgar. There are lots of F-bombs thrown around at inappropriate times. A few here and there can be funny, but when it's F-this and mother effer that, it starts to get annoying. It really felt like every fifth word was the F-bomb.

The physical comedy is a lot of fake-poop and weird CG-baby nonsense that looked terrible. It wasn't funny and was more irritating than anything.

I never thought I'd see myself complaining about female nudity in a movie, but this way too much. There is a lot of bad nudity they attempted to use for comedic effect. The worse part is, it's all fake. All the nudity in the movie is either fake boobs or rubber suits. It looks awful and it was so unnecessary. There's even a scene where they had to CG a nipple on Olivia Wilde's boob. I just don't see the point.

Olivia Wilde is in this (she's in frigging everything lately and I couldn't tell you why) playing basically an adolescent male fantasy here. She drinks, likes sports and just offers up sex without having to work for it. It really felt like a kid wrote this just hoping this is how girls are when he gets older. Olivia looks great, but she doesn't do anything in this movie that any other young Hollywood starlet couldn't have done just as well.

It seemed like even the 'real' situations seemed more like fantasies of those things rather than how they really are. There are scenes where they are hanging out a sports bar and everyone is super into a baseball game. I just found the whole thing odd, because I've only see this kind of reaction in playoff games. If it's just a normal game, you don't see huge crowds in sports bars with everyone screaming throughout the game. It was more like how I see sports bars when watching football games, not baseball games. I don't know why that annoyed me so much.

Another thing is that I hate when characters are shown to be mostly unemployed or having difficulty keeping a job, but seem to have nice apartments and never have problems paying for things. Do these characters all have trust funds?

There actually are some sweet and real moments here, mainly involving Leslie Mann's character, but these parts of the movie felt like they were written by different people.

I did laugh out loud a few times, but not enough to overcome the overall silliness of The Change-Up. Again, it just felt like kids had written this or didn't expect much from their audience.

Part of the surprise for me is that it actually has a good cast and it's from writers of The Hangover. It was directed by David Dobkin, who directed Wedding Crashers, so I was just expecting a lot more out of this.

I'm just disappointed. The Change-Up is just lazy and uninspired, much like Ryan Reynolds character.

Save this one for rental. It's not worth seeing in the theater.

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