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Growing up together, Mitch and Dave were inseparable best friends, but as the years have passed they've slowly drifted apart. While Dave is an overworked lawyer, husband and father of three, Mitch has remained a single, quasi-employed man-child who has never met a responsibility he liked. To Mitch, Dave has it all: beautiful wife Jamie, kids who adore him and a high-paying job at a prestigious law...
For more about The Change-Up and the The Change-Up Blu-ray release, see the The Change-Up Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on November 3, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann
Director: David Dobkin
» See full cast & crew
The Change-Up Blu-ray Review
Not to be confused with 'The Switch,' although that would've been preferred...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, November 3, 2011
Ryan Reynolds needs a new agent. He may be a hot Hollywood property, but Reynolds isn't exactly holding up his end of the A-list deal. With X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Green Lantern and now The Change-Up, the once-promising actor of all seasons has gone a bit belly up, grinning and bearing his way through some of the bigger misfires in recent memory. If it weren't for taut one-man-thriller Buried, I might be tempted to write off the wise-cracking star and abandon all hope that Deadpool will be everything it should be, and then some. But I digress. The Change-Up represents everything Reynolds doesn't need to be doing right now: feeding at the body-switcheroo trough, chowing down on rancid dialogue, wallowing in genre sludge, and sloshing his way through one of the worst comedies of the year. Even Jason Bateman, who deserves some of the A-list status Reynolds is currently hogging, is slumming it this time around, cashing in and cashing out on a film he clearly doesn't believe in. (And no, that isn't a cheap shot in the dark. His interview on The Daily Show was very... telling.) With Reynolds and Bateman in a 108-minute free for all, what's a grossout-gag junkie left to do? Find a smarter, funnier R-rated comedy, that's what.
Lifelong best friends Dave Lockwood (Bateman) and Mitch Planko (Reynolds) aren't as close as they once were. Dave has a house, a wife (Leslie Mann), three kids, and a seat at the table at a successful high-dollar law firm. Mitch has... well, Mitch doesn't have much of anything other than an ego, a disapproving father (Alan Arkin), cash that appears as if from nowhere, and a thing for women living on the fringe of kink. After a few too many drinks, though, Dave and Mitch drop any pretenses, take a wizz in a fountain with a creepy statue and -- bam! -- wake up the next morning to discover they've switched bodies. (The moral of the story? Never use a public fountain as a urinal. They're magical and vindictive.) How will a tightly wound family man ever adjust to life as an oversexed underachiever? How will a cocky struggling actor handle the pressures of being a husband, a father and a rising star at a law firm? By screwing up each other's lives and miraculously setting everything right once they've learned a little something about themselves, of course.
While I think it's safe to say body-swapping comedies will never die, The Change-Up makes a persuasive case for putting the entire subgenre out of its misery. Dave and Mitch aren't just unlikable, they're unbearable. The script, from Hangover II writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, isn't just formulaic and forced, it's as derivative as derivative drivel gets. The R-rated grossout gags aren't just crude and juvenile, they're revolting and reckless. The tone isn't just uneven, it's unwieldy. The laughs don't just fall flat, they drop dead where they stand. And that's with Bateman and Reynolds center stage, both of whom do their best to make something out of nothing, both of whom turn in the ham-fisted performances of their careers, and both of whom fail to save The Change-Up from Wedding Crashers filmmaker David Dobkin's poor taste and uninspired direction. But I thought it was hilarious! To each his own. It wasn't that bad! I'm glad you enjoyed it. When that baby shot a stream of poo into Bateman's mouth, I died! So did I, but not from laughing. Look, different comedies appeal to different people. I get it, I do. Typically I'd be the first to spout off "one man's junk is another man's dumpster dive" and move on to the next review without a second thought. But, for whatever reason, I had high hopes for The Change-Up, and by "for whatever reason" I mean my unfettered love for Bateman and my lingering faith in Reynolds. Unfortunately, the resulting comedy is so inconsistent, so mean-spirited, so half-baked (and overcooked), so contrived, so unoriginal, and so desperate to stand out in a dangerously overpopulated R-rated (and Unrated) ravine that, like Mitch, it doesn't amount to anything.
Leslie Mann, though, is a distant light in the darkness. A drop of dew in a parched desert. A sweet song in the midst of a terrible storm. She not only injects real heart into a near-heartless endeavor, she brings the boys up to her level. (Well, after a bout of explosive diarrhea has passed.) The last fifteen minutes of the film are sappy and strained, sure. But in the middle of all the nonsense, childishness, depravity, infidelity and lost-soul soul-searching, Mann (with some help from a perfectly cast Olivia Wilde) lures Bateman and Reynolds into a much better film. It's a softer film, a more traditional film even, but one that stops punishing its loathsome male leads long enough to make us care about them, if only by way of the women in their lives. Elsewhere, Arkin turns in solid work (even if he's wasted in a string of dead-end scenes), Craig Bierko earns a chuckle or two as a sleazy porno director, and little Sydney Rouviere is cute and precocious but ultimately underutilized. I'd even go so far as to say there are moments when The Change-Up seems on the verge of embracing some much-need change; moments that hint at what could have been a wittier, edgier and more unconventional body-swapping diversion. But then, without warning, these already frail and fleeting moments are summarily shown the door. In the frantic frenzy to top their own hit comedies and cross their own lines in the sand, Dobkin, Lucas and Moore try too hard, push too fast, swing too wide, stumble too often, flail too much, and offer too little. As far as I'm concerned, The Change-Up is backed by far too much talent to turn out this bad, and yet that's exactly what it is.
The Change-Up Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Change-Up excels on Blu-ray, though, thanks to a strong, at-times striking 1080p/VC-1 encoded video transfer. Skintones are a bit oversaturated on occasion, but any criticism I might indulge ends there. Eric Alan Edwards' spunky late summer palette is warm and playful, black levels are deep and untainted, and contrast is natural and consistent. And detail? No complaints here. Edge definition is clean and refined (with little to no ringing), fine textures are well-resolved, and delineation is quite revealing. There isn't really any substantial grain to speak of, but you also won't encounter the kind of hyper-sharpened artificiality that leaves many a presentation looking over-polished and over-processed. There is some softness to contend with, granted, but only of the filmic variety. Best of all, significant artifacting, banding, noise, smearing and other nonsense are held at bay, making this yet another precise and proficient recent theatrical presentation from Universal. (Say what you will about the studio's catalog titles. Whatever you come up with probably can't be said about its newer releases.) All in all, The Change-Up's Blu-ray debut should satisfy anyone and everyone, regardless of how they feel about the film itself.
The Change-Up Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The same could be said of The Change-Up's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, even if it doesn't break the R-rated comedy mold. Much of the soundscape rests near the center channel, as dialogue-driven comedies tend to do, but voices are clear and intelligible, grossout splats and spurts are suitably splatty and spurty, directional effects bring with them a welcome sense of movement, and low-end support -- limited as it is amidst all of Mitch and Dave's bantering and bickering -- doesn't disappoint. The rear speakers are a bit restrained as well, albeit at the behest of the film's original sound design. Not that anyone should be concerned. When the chatting ceases and chaos erupts in the middle of the night (babies do love their cutlery), the lossless mix flexes some muscle and teases its dynamic prowess with enough punch and power to keep things interesting. Dobkin detractors may shrug their shoulders in the end, but fans of the film will be pleased.
The Change-Up Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Change-Up Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
No need to rehash or open not-so-old wounds. I didn't like The Change-Up -- at all -- but you know the drill: you might think it's hilarious. Comedy is arguably more subjective than any other genre, so if you have any love at all for Bateman or Reynolds, a rental is probably in order. Thankfully, the Blu-ray edition isn't going to split audiences or divide the masses. With an excellent video transfer, a faithful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and a small but solid smattering of supplements, fans of the film will certainly get their money's worth.
The Change-Up: Other Editions
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The Change-Up Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Change-Up Blu-ray - September 19, 2011
Universal has officially announced the Blu-ray release of their 2011 summer comedy The Change-Up. The David Dobkin film puts a new spin on the body-switch comedy by having a married father with three young kids (played by Jason Bateman) wake up in the body of his ...
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