The “Freaky Friday”-style premise of “The Change-Up,” directed by David Dobkin, brings together Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman as longtime buddies who end up inhabiting each other’s bodies and lives. Reynolds’s Mitch is a gadabout slacker while Bateman’s Dave is an overworked lawyer with a stunning wife (Leslie Mann) and cute babies. We’re supposed to accept the fact that each man secretly envies the other’s life even though the movie doesn’t make a terribly good case for either man’s existence (especially Mitch’s).
The switcheroo happens when, after a drunken night out in which they urinate into a wishing pond, the men wake up in each other’s bodies. (Whatever happened to "When You Wish Upon a Star”?) From then on, predictable consequences ensue, leading up to the inevitable moment of realization that life was better in the original body.
Bateman, as always, is surpassingly good, even when the material isn’t (as in the horrible “Horrible Bosses”). Olivia Wilde has a slinky cameo as a legal assistant and Alan Arkin is onscreen too briefly as Mitch’s exasperated father. He should be inhabiting another movie. Grade: C+ (Rated R for pervasive strong, crude sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug use.)