The Change-Up

The change up was an OFFENSIVELY BAD FILM, and an excrutiating experience to sit through. Its runtime is listed at 112 minutes, but it felt like 8 hours in a dentist chair, and there was rarely a breathing moment when I didn’t feel actively insulted by what this movie expected me to find funny.

It’s a no brainer that this movie is going to wind up on several prominent “Worst Movie of the Year” lists, and I expect it to be nominated for half a dozen Razzies at least.

You know a movie sucks BAD when you have to explain why you even went to it.

Here’s why I went to see “The Change-Up”

  1. So far, I’ve only been reviewing the biggest movie released each week. While it’s my blog, and I can do whatever I like, I do suffer from mild panic attacks when people ask me if I’m going to be writing up one of the other movies released that week. In recent weeks I’ve been asked about both “The Smurfs” and “Friends With Benefits”, neither of which I’ve written up. Also coming out in a fairly high profile release was “Crazy Stupid Love”, which I also didn’t write up, but nobody asked about. Pro movie critics see ALL the big releases… plus a bunch of smaller ones here and there. Not that I aspire to be a pro, but… So I said screw it, lets try to hit ’em both.
  2. I’m pretty aware that my “grades” on this site have been skewing positive. Now, personally, I know that that’s mainly because I stay away from shite like this normally. Thus the potentially bad movies get weeded out before they’re even graded. Still, if I stick with “safe” films only , new visitors might stop by and think I’m a candy-ass who likes everything. Don’t want that.
  3. I know from my own surfing experience though that a lot of times its more fun to read a critic shredding a bad movie than it is to read them praise a good one. So I figured, eh, what’s the worst that could happen? Worst thing is, its a shitty movie, but I get to go home and rag on it.

And so, I wound up checking out “The Change Up” (Hey, at least I had some excuses). What I didn’t count on was how painful this film could actually be.

You know things are bad when your own star calls the movie garbage. “Its crap. The movie’s Garbage” Jason Bateman reportedly said on The Daily Show

He wasn’t wrong at all.

I mean, the ceiling was low for this flick from the onset. The “Body-Swap” premise is about as dumb as it gets. It’s improbable and completely tired. It’s got all the originality of starting a joke with “A man walks into a bar”. Maybe once upon a time, before we had seen it over and over and over again it was funny, but nowadays “Hey, I’M YOU!!”… “And I’M YOU!!!” is just DUMB. I suspect it always has been, but maybe it was at least “fresh” at one time.

Hollywood $&%*ing loves it for some reason. IMDb lists 90 different titles that have used the body swap premise: 57 movies, 28 TV shows and 5 Short Films. Per IMDb, the use of this premise onscreen dates back to 1940 (“Turnabout”, an American comedy movie). That’s before America entered WWII folks. This gimmick is old.

Doesn’t bode well that it’ll go away anytime soon, either, unfortunately.

However, it’s not even the stupidity of the Body Swap premise that bothers me the most. I mean, you know it’s a Body Swap movie going in, so you just kind of wait until the stupid switch… watching them set the stage for a bit, establishing what life is like for each of them a little… and then see if anybody does anything funny afterwards within the context they’ve been saddled with.

They don’t.

In fact, the movie probably gets worse. At least in the beginning, Jason Bateman was being Jason Bateman, and Ryan Reynolds was being Ryan Reynolds. That is to say, Bateman was able to do his trademark “I’m so intelligent and grounded that its easy for me to effortlessly point out what an idiot you are” and Reynolds could rip off Chevy Chase’s “I’m so cool I can free associate and act super smug right in your face and get away with it”. Once they switch bodies, even that small pleasure is taken away from the audience, as each of them tries to imitate the other (supposedly they’ve switched bodies, so…) and fails.

Its not even that that’s so bad about this film though. Its the way they completely insult your intteligence and sense of humor. Everything is the broadest generalization and biggest stereotype clichés you can imagine. The bachelor has a fridge full of rotten food and is juggling women, the married man gets baby shit in his eyes and mouth (no joke) and has to watch his wife take a crap. There’s more penis jokes and crap jokes than any movie should be allowed to have. None of them are funny.

Look. I have no problem with lowbrow humor. I can do lowbrow humor. This is not lowbrow humor.

It’s just plain lowbrow.



4 thoughts on “The Change-Up

  1. On the originality of the “body swap”… I’m not sure I’d even be willing to credit the idea as being new as of 1940. OK, onscreen, sure. But really, “body swapping” is just magically-induced “Prince and the Pauper”. The core premise has been around since 1881, and that’s if we’re assuming Mark Twain didn’t swipe it from somewhere (and Twain was not above swiping the occasional premise). I’m not saying an old idea can’t be well-done (there have been plenty of excellent rampages of revenge since The Count of Monte Cristo was first published, for example), but at this point, I think it’s necessary to at least do it well and put a novel twist on it. And, as modern comedic movie writers seem to persistently fail to realize, “Uh, it’s vulgar” does not constitute a novel twist on anything.

    • Oh. And its vulgar alright.

      I didnt even touch on half the stuff.

      But any premise could be elevated. Even a knock knock joke could be funny yunder the right conditions I suppose. Not here though. Not here.

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