I didn't hate this movie because it wasn't that funny, although it's not. I didn't hate this movie because the actors are people I generally don't like. I happen to be fans of both Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, although Bateman's film track record is kind of dismal (being said, I really liked him HORRIBLE BOSSES), and the good will I've felt toward Reynolds since BURIED has long since dissipated thanks to GREEN LANTERN and now THE CHANGE-UP. The reason I hate this film is because it's lazy filmmaking. I'm perfectly fine with gross-out comedies or movies with total assholes as the leading characters, but THE CHANGE-UP uses both of these devices with such a sloppy disregard for any sense of joy or earned laughs that I gave up on it at about the halfway point.
What surprised me most about THE CHANGE-UP is that it comes from somewhat reliable stock. In addition to the actors, the film was directed by WEDDING CRASHERS director David Dobkin and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore of THE HANGOVER fame. I was actually even on board (in theory) with the idea of a man frustrated with his marriage (Bateman married to Leslie Mann) switching bodies with his womanizer slacker buddy (Reynolds) after crossing pee streams in a fountain. Because how else would it happen?
As a result of the switch, Reynolds' Mitch seems more sensitive and kind, while Bateman's Dave becomes a raging douche. And I don't care if you do get to use your friend's body to sleep with a co-worker you think is hot (that person would be played by Olivia Wilde), it's still cheating. And so would the new Dave sleeping with his best friend's wife, an act which is thwarted when he sees her commit the age-old marriage felony of going to the bathroom with the door open. I'm all for raunch at any level, but this film going for (literally) bathroom humor and cheap sex jokes seems easy and flimsy and, above all else, barely funny.
There isn't much more to say about THE CHANGE-UP. The guys try to pretend to be each other until they figure out how to break the spell, which means Mitch has to take over his buddy's job as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer during a big deal that he may or may not have wrecked. That particular sequence proves that Mitch is not only a horrible friend, but also a horrible human being in ways I simply didn't find funny even coming from Jason Bateman trying to be Ryan Reynolds.
The women fare the worst in this movie, as Mann is once again cast in the role of the harping wife, while Wilde is essentially a piece of meat to be scrutinized and discussed by the men as if there's no doubt they could bang her if they just asked. It's kind of an ugly film in that respect. Believe me when I say, I don't usually get so sickened by gross-out humor, but something about this movie rubbed me the wrong way from the very beginning. No one in the movie seems happy to be on the screen, and there's really no one to even like here, no entry point into the movie, or even someone to remotely identify with. You know what, I'm probably as sick of talking about THE CHANGE-UP as you probably are reading about it and as I was watching it. Let's all stop this nonsense together... now.