Andy Bockelman: ‘The Change-Up’ needs a few modifications |

Andy Bockelman: ‘The Change-Up’ needs a few modifications

Andy Bockelman is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society, and his movie reviews appear in Explore Steamboat and the Craig Daily Press.

In Hollywood's grand tradition of body-switching movies, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

But, when both yards look like a dried-out auto parts graveyard such as in "The Change-Up," is there any point in wishing you had someone else's life?

Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) is an Atlanta lawyer who splits his time between countless hours at the office and the demands of his wife (Leslie Mann) and kids. His lifelong best friend Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) couldn't be more different, spending his days smoking weed and making half-hearted attempts to jumpstart his acting career while devoting nights to the pursuit of women.

During a night of heavy drinking, the two make the same confession to each other: "I wish I had your life."

Voicing this shared thought at the same instant causes the two of them to get exactly what they want as they awaken the next morning seeing different faces in the mirror than the ones they had when they went to bed.

Somehow, the niceties of having a family are suddenly lost on Mitch, while Dave is none too pleased with having to actually live out his buddy's aimless existence.

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As the two of them try to figure out a way to get back in their original bodies, nothing is sacred as both of them start to screw up each other's relationships and careers, leaving their friendship up in the air.

Bateman's bit as the button-down working stiff is getting to be pretty routine by now, but once Mitch takes control of Dave's body, we see him become a different kind of guy — the kind who wears shower sandals to work and advises his daughter (Sydney Rouviere) to handle all her problems with violence.

Reynolds' return to the kind of hedonistic, foul-mouthed lifestyle he lived in "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" and "Waiting …" is worth seeing, but even more humorous is once straight arrow Dave stuck fulfilling Mitch's schedule of starring in a "lorno" — don't ask — and helping a full-term pregnant woman (Mircea Monroe) satisfy her sexual impulses.

All in a day's work.

Mann is delightful but underutilized as Dave's wife, Jamie, whom Mitch has always had his eye on, while Olivia Wilde is charming as Sabrina, Dave's office crush, whom he might just have a shot with while in Mitch's more appealing frame.

It's not adultery if it's somebody else's naughty parts, right?

Unfortunately for both our boys, the old switcheroo is of no help to them in the boudoir. Especially when Thai food is on the dinner menu.

Whether it's a fortune cookie swapping a mother and daughter, a blow to the head transplanting a crotchety old man into his young neighbor's body or a pair of magical earrings dooming Rachel McAdams to look like Rob Schneider, the method through which characters get things all turned around in these kinds of movies is practically irrelevant. Although a park fountain that doesn't respond well when you pee in it is pretty funny.

The first 20 minutes of these flicks are always the same, but it's going further down the rabbit hole that lets us determine whether it's something funny.

A story that bares it all in every conceivable way allows for the same kind of enormous laughs as director David Dobkin's "Wedding Crashers" and screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's "The Hangover."

But, the factor that makes pooping twin terrors and big, bold back tattoos less funny than they ought to be is the fact that Dave and Mitch just aren't all that different of dudes. Bateman and Reynolds both possess decent comedic skills, but neither musters any mannerisms to define when they're themselves and when they've got a guest in their bodies.

Other than Dave suddenly using a lot more colorful language and Mitch dressing more conservatively once their happening takes place, the only possible indication might be nametags.

If the intent behind "The Change-Up" is to gross out everyone who sees it, then it's certainly a success.

However, the lack of two properly defined main characters with contrasting reactions keeps it an uninspired albeit enjoyable raunchfest.

“The Change-Up”

2 out of 4 stars

112 minutes

Starring: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde.