* * (Gross, crude, R-rated comedy)
The worn-out Hollywood theme of two people exchanging bodies is pushed to the extreme by adding sex, nudity, bathroom humor and an attempt to set a new world's record for the number of times the F word is used in a movie. "The Change Up" is as far from the original Disney teen film, "Freaky Friday,” as it gets.
Jason Bateman plays Dave, father of three and a successful lawyer hoping to become a partner after a big merger. His best pal is Mitch (Ryan Reynolds), an unemployed man/boy womanizer who survives by acting in soft porn movies. What these two have in common is beyond us.
The movie opens with a disgusting scene of Dave changing a diaper and quickly moves to even more disgusting scenes. The two guys get drunk, talk about how they each wish they had the other's life, pee in a fountain, and get their wish.
The slovenly Mitch has difficulty dealing with Dave's body, manhandling his young children to the point of child abuse, mentally abusing his wife, and messing up a big merger deal at work. Meanwhile, Dave has trouble adjusting to Mitch's body and lifestyle, especially when strange women come knocking at his door. His scene at the porn filming could be labeled "soft porn,” as could his scene with a pregnant hooker. We're no prudes, but this movie pushes the envelope on good taste.
So here we have the time-worn theme of "the grass is always greener,” added to "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.” As if that is not reason enough to avoid all the clichés associated with it, the writers and director decide to make it as crude and obnoxious as possible.
When we've had enough of these two insensitive, irritating characters, the writers move in for the "redeeming social value" conclusion. Both guys talk to others who think they are not who they are, hearing what people really feel about them. Mitch confronts his alienated father (Alan Arkin). Dave gets an earful from his wife.
How can they get back in their original bodies and become better people? They do. Who cares? Rated an R that a few years ago would have been an X.