Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman star in 'The Change-Up': movie review

Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman are old friends with wildly different lifestyles who find themselves inhabiting each other's bodies, and comedy ensues in this fairly crude farce 'The Change-Up.'

Richard Cartwright/Universal Pictures/AP
Jason Bateman, background, and Ryan Reynolds are shown in a scene from 'The Change-Up.'

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.)

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.