Friday, August 5, 2011

This Week in Why Bother: The Change-Up

Considering James Franco recently told Playboy that Rise of the Planet of the Apes was complete shit, I thought this week’s column of what not to see was a foregone conclusion.  But while that film, shockingly, garners mediocre-to-good reviews, let’s settle for a gentle thrashing of The Change-Up.  The only good comment I’ve heard about this film came from Judd Apatow, who’s, you know, screwing one of the film’s main stars.

Author names link to respective reviews.

The Change-Up: By the Numbers
Number of Times You’ve Seen Variations of this Movie: At least 5 (Freaky Friday, Trading Places, Big, Peggy Sue Got Married, Face/Off)

Rotten Tomatoes Approval Rating on Day of Release: 23%

Estimated hyperbolic budget: Couldn’t find it, but really, who gives a shit.

It has a low opinion of men, a lower opinion of women, and the lowest opinion of the intelligence of its audience... Anyone who enjoys this film cannot fairly be considered an adult. Pity about the R rating. It will keep out those callow enough to enjoy it.

[Director] David Dobkin’s film has the faults of raucous recent scatological comedies like Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses and The Hangover Part II, with none of their redeeming facets. It’s scattershot, sexist, and vulgar without being funny, a masturbatory fantasy for the Maxim set.

Another body-switching comedy? Seriously? From the peaks of Big and Freaky Friday to the low of Vice Versa — Face/Off - being my guilty pleasure — we've seen it all. Really. We have. 

Dobkin seems not to have encouraged Bateman and Reynolds to try harder to inhabit each other's mannerisms and personae; once they switch, they don't really change, which feels like a lost opportunity for actors with their comic chops.

It's one of the toughest tasks to make a consistently funny comedy, but so much of The Change-Up feels lazy and familiar…it's more often frat-boy crass, frantic and formulaic.


  1. I'm bummed about this, I love Bateman and like Reynolds, although my opinion of the latter is kind of going down lately. There were too many poop jokes in the trailer for it to live.

  2. Completely agree. I'm all for R-rated comedies, but this recent slew of them is really hit or miss.

  3. ...18 Again!, Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son...

    Does this concept ever work?

    1. No, never. Christ, I forgot I used to write these things.