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Friday, Aug. 5, 2011

Change-Up

Bateman and Reynolds Swap Bodies (And Bad Jokes)

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What if you could trade your life for someone else's? If the thought ever crossed your mind, the premise of Change-Up may tickle your imagination. A comedy of swapped identities and fish out of water, Change-Up stars Jason Bateman as Dave, dutiful husband-father and working stiff lawyer, and Ryan Reyolds as Mitch, a single and irresponsible doofus. The story's motto, if the writers had been profound enough to think of one, is: beware of what you wish for. It just might come true.

In the drunken scene where Dave and Mitch express the desire to trade their lives, essentially exchanging excitement for security, the two mismatched buddies are shown pissing into a wishing fountain. The spirit of that place has her revenge next morning when they wake up in each other's homes, Mitch in Dave's suburban colonial and Dave in Mitch's walk-up loft, horrified by what they find in the mirror. The Freaky Friday scenario has comic potential, and some of it surfaces as the characters struggle to fake their way through each other's lives with Mitch bumbling around Dave's stuffy law firm and Dave thrust onto the set of the porn flick Mitch was starring in.

Mostly, though, the writers—or the leakers ordering them around—show no confidence in their material. Change-Up gets off to a flying start when baby poop flies into Dave's face. It could only get better from there, but mostly, it doesn't. The great Alan Arkin has the misfortune of playing Mitch's father. Bateman and Reynolds handle their roles with a certain zest.

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