Sigh. Once again we see that a good cast, good director and lots of money just don’t make for a very good movie.
Merely the latest in the phenomenon of ’00s gross-out comedies, CHANGE-UP is pitched as a grown-up’s FREAKY FRIDAY; the slovenly single actor switches places with the overworked yuppie father. Hilarity ensues! Except that it doesn’t. I’m fine with gross comedy — it can be used to hilarious effect on occasion. Similarly, I’m fine with principal characters that are jerks who are devoid of morality — It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia proves that it can be a winning formula. No, the problem with CHANGE-UP is when you pelt the audience with relentless gross jokes and relentless jerkhole characters without any plot driving it all, and without any significant comedic payoff. The movie is instead a disappointing grind, with occasionally funny shock moments and the rare one-liner that caused a smile.
That said, it was good to see Ryan Reynolds doing comedy; he should stick to his strengths. Bateman is serviceable as well, and the interplay between the two worked well. It’s just too bad that both of them are lecherous, pathetic losers who pretty much remain that way throughout the movie. The big moral achievement is that Bateman doesn’t cheat on his wife, which Reynolds doesn’t sleep with Bateman’s wife. Hooray for a tremendous display of character! These are horrible people who are somehow lifted to nobility simply because they temporarily abstain from doing horrible things.
Meanwhile, the women are an afterthought, used either for displaying their boobs, being sight gags or just mindless sex toys. It’s a fairly reprehensible movie with only minor laughs. Too bad.