Let’s cut to the chase — Olivia Wilde is a beautifully packaged woman and plays a part in many man’s fantasies. Even mine on occasion. But if you were hoping to see her naked in The Change-Up, you won’t (before she became a hot Hollywood commodity, she delivered the goods in “Alpha Dog”). There is a moment, however, where you think it might happen — your senses tingle and the palms get clammy — but it doesn’t materialize. (The shot of her ass in Brazilian cut panties will have to do, although I’m not wholly convinced that it isn’t a body double). But don’t despair completely. There is another attractive actress — not quite on the level of Ms. Wilde — who does show some skin. Thank you for picking up the slack, Leslie Mann.
There’s a bunch of other naked chicks making their way in and out of The Change-Up too. And they’re all used for shock value with varying levels of success.
So too, is the massive level of vulgarity. It’s these two “adult” level differentiators that separate this movie from other body swap movies like “Face/Off,” “The Hot Chick” and “18 Again!.”
Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman, “Hancock”) has dedicated his life to succeed at work and as a consequence has put his lovely wife Jamie (Mann) and children on the backburner. Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds, “Waiting . . .”) is a womanizing slacker not having worked a single honest day in his life. In real life these guys wouldn’t be friends, hell, a guy like Dave would actively avoid a guy like Mitch. But, for the purpose of setting up the perfect scenario for a body swap movie, these guys are lifelong buds. And true to form, while crossing piss streams in a fountain, the slacker finds he now has to accept responsibility and the workaholic must now learn how to let go and smell the roses.
This leads to some memorable and some not so memorable moments. Memorable: Dave in Mitch’s body meeting Tatiana for a night of debauchery and Mitch in Dave’s body fouling up an important contract negotiation. Not so memorable: Dave in Mitch’s body performing in a softcore porn flick and Mitch in Dave’s body doing diaper duty for the first time. The most fun is derived from the chemistry of the two leads and the flip from their normal personas. Bateman can be counted on to play the low-key “everyday guy,” so his shift to saying “fuck” every other word and acting flippant was a welcome change and one that looked on screen that he enjoyed doing it. We’re used to seeing Reynolds behave like an asshole (his career is built upon it) and we know he has the chops to be serious (“Buried”) but seeing him struggle as he tries to conform to accepted behaviors generated a few good laughs on its own. Together they make an effective team, although I could have done without 75/80 jokes about the size, look and feel of each others’ dicks.
Even the supporting characters, generally good for throw away screen time, are given something to sink their teeth into by writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Olivia Wilde, as Dave’s object of desire, is more than just eye candy (though she looks really, really good) — her character balances a strict male dominated professional life with her sexually aggressive independence. And Leslie Mann, famously known for her throw up scene in “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” gets in a few dramatic scenes to go along with her soon to be famous Thai food toilet scene.
The Change-Up, while being predictable in nearly every way, still manages to land itself on the “good body swapping flick” pile. It’s also a damn good addition to the “R-rated, raunchy, vulgar movies that are now a mainstay in today’s cinema” pile.