You've seen one body-swapping movie you've seen them all, right? Well, basically. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman's new, raunchier, out-of-body comedy The Change-Up doesn't bother reinventing the wheel (except for its very needed R-rating), but, rather, the two megastars of the moment compete to see who can be more unlike their typecast persona for two hours. The winner? Jason Bateman.
We know Bateman from his more typical deadpan retorts and spot-on performances as the straight-laced, average Joe with an insatiable wit as seen in movies like Juno and, most recently, Horrible Bosses. But in The Change-Up, the Arrested Development alum makes you forget about that whole routine. He stars as Dave Lockwood, a power lawyer, husband and dad of three who, after a long night of drinking with his more reckless long-time pal, Mitch (Reynolds), mentions that he wishes he had Mitch's life. This happens just as the same time Mitch wishes the same thing, while they're both peeing in a public fountain.
Okay, so that last part--the part about peeing in a public fountain--isn't exactly a highlight in the movie. But how else are these two schmoes going to end a wild night of drinking if they don't relieve themselves in a fountain? Well, moving on....
After the two realize what they'd done, and learn they have no control over the situation, they decide to live in their new bodies. Mitch's wild, playboy behavior is now stuck in Bateman's body, which you can imagine provides for pretty funny scenes at the corporate law firm and in his and his wife's (played by Leslie Mann) usually controlled home. While Dave's more rigid, by-the-books persona is trapped in Mitch's flighty lifestyle as a porn star living in a college-like apartment that's constantly flowing with strippers at night. Needless to say, the two learn a lot more than what they bargained for about themselves, and each other.
While it was certainly interesting to see Reynolds in the more subdued performance unlike his his typical playboy roles, Bateman's wilder performance will make you do a double take to see if it's really him. His over-the-top scenes helped him shed any signs of typecasting, while also providing some of the best scenes in the movie. Although it should also be noted here that Reynolds playing the more simple guy in Mitch's crazy world had quite a few good scenes, including any scene with Dave's assistant--and undercover freak-- Sabrina (Olivia Wilde).
Leslie Mann plays her usual wife role--the one who wears the pants in the marriage and known to sporadically burst into tears while ranting about how in shambles her relationship is--is still effective in the role that's obviously tailor-made for her.
Overall, The Change-Up has quite a few good laughs (even though most are shown in the trailer), and Reynolds and Bateman's two-for-one comedy show mostly works. Although the lack of originality of the concept really brings down its appeal, audiences will enjoy watching this recycled story unfold with the two newest performances. If you don't want to see The Change-Up in theaters, make sure you rent it if only for a good laugh.