(Unrated and R)
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Call me a sucker, but I like Ryan Reynolds. Sure, the guy hasn’t had much of a hit outside of a few films, and those were either big on home video (like “Van Wilder”) or movies that made money but not because of him (like “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”). I even liked him in “Green Lantern,” for which he took a critical beating.
Partner Reynolds up with a veteran comic actor like Jason Bateman, and you’ve got a great cast. Together, they make “The Change-Up” work, even though not many critics or audience members agree with me on this point.
The story is your basic “Freaky Friday” set-up, where two friends wish for each other’s life. Because they did this while peeing in a magic fountain, ne’er do well ladies man Mitch (Reynolds) switches bodies with family man Dave (Bateman). They then have to deal with the hassles and challenges of each others’ lives while they track down the fountain so they can make the switch back.
“The Change-Up” is a comedy first, even though the film tries to give a tender message near the end. Of course, that’s what’s expected of most films, and I can forgive it here. The key to the film is the chemistry between Reynolds and Bateman, who work off each other but can also be very funny in their own scenes. Working with a secondary cast that includes Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann, both men show quite a level of versatility.
At this time of year, in retrospective of 2011, many people point to films like “Bridesmaids” and “Crazy Stupid Love” as the best comedies of the summer, but I contend that “The Change-Up” is funnier. In fact, the only film it doesn’t beat in laughs from summer 2011 is “Horrible Bosses” (which also stars Bateman).
There’s very little redeeming value to “The Change-Up,” but that’s okay. There is an inherent sweetness at times, and the film doesn’t overuse its child actors for a saccharine effect. The movie is heavy on the dirty jokes, from Mitch’s constant swearing to weird fetish moments that will make quite a few people cringe.
In the end, “The Change-Up” made me laugh, and it moved at a decent pace as to not bore me. It’s not a bad rental for anyone looking for a fun movie on a Saturday night.
The Blu-ray comes with the theatrical and the unrated version of the film, which includes about five more minutes. There’s BD-Live and pocketBLU accessibility, as well as a DVD and a Digital Copy disc.
Features include deleted scenes, a gaga reel, feature commentary and some behind-the-scenes featurettes on the production.