‘Change-Up’ Changes Up ‘Freaky Friday’ Concept… in a Good Way

Movie specs:

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde
Directed By: David Dobkin
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: August 5, 2011
Running Time: 1 hour 52 minutes
Rating: R (for pervasive strong crude sexual content and language, some graphic nudity and drug use)

Screenshot from the movie © Universal Pictures

Screenshot from the movie © Universal Pictures

We have all seen it before. Two people wish for something different, some magic happens, then the two people switch bodies for a few days. They go through a series of denial, then acceptance, then discover they get to live the life they’ve always wanted, then come to the conclusion that they really missed their original not-so-terrible lives, shed a few tears, and everyone is happier than they were before. So why watch this movie?

Well, besides the fact that it’s now two guys switching bodies as opposed to normally women, this movie was actually really funny. They really took advantage of that R-rating and went for a wanton, crude script that was very well delivered by a cast full of funny people.

A quick synopsis of what the movie is about, without spoiling too much… wait. I already explained it above. But now add sexual, rude, consistent hilarity to it, and you’ve got yourself this movie.

Ryan Reynolds plays an immature, childish, druggie, “struggling” actor from a broken family, who is childhood friends with Jason Bateman’s character, who is an accomplished, over-achieving lawyer who has a seemingly picture-perfect family. The two lament about their lives, wish for each others’ lives, and then so begins that journey.

Let me just say that that I have always had a little crush on Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, and now after this movie, I’m about ready to marry them. Great varietal array of expressions and characteristic traits that test their acting abilities (wait, Ryan Reynolds can act?) and shows us that they are a comedic force to be dealt with. The differences in their roles are definitely vast enough for a believable portrayal of switched minds and bodies, although the two guys have always had that quirky sense of comedy, that I almost, at times, forgot they switched bodies. It may have been more believable if they had probably casted a more dramatic, non-comedic actor (perhaps, James McAvoy?), although then the chemistry that Ryan and James shared on-screen would have never surfaced. Warning: there is definitely some funny penis and sex jokes in there. I mean, c’mon, if you switched bodies with Ryan Reynolds, would you not want to take advantage of that?

But let’s not forget the ladies in the movie. It’s always refreshing to see a comedy where most of the comedic weight isn’t carried on by one to two people. Leslie Mann is pretty much “the man” in female comedy. In my opinion, she’s always been very underrated. I loved her in 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, and I was very happy to see her in this movie. She definitely was a great addition to the cast. Albeit every movie needs that slightly heart-hitting moment, she can be dramatic AND funny at the same time. And a surprising appearance by the gorgeous Olivia Wilde, who is also in the film Cowboys and Aliens that released last week, left me to believe that this actress will probably be casted for another comedy in the near future.

What I also enjoyed about the movie, and this is a little bit personal and biased, is that it is based and was filmed in Atlanta, GA. I did spend a good amount of time picking out some of the places I have seen. Fun fact: yeah, most of the roads in Atlanta in fact carry the name “Peachtree” in it. There is Peacthree Blvd, Rd, Industrial, Ave, Peachtree-Dunwoody, Peachtree-Chamblee, then there is West Peachtree… okay, you get the point. Another fun fact: the first bar scene (and some others) was filmed at a popular gay restaurant in Atlanta, named Joe’s on Juniper.

If you’re needing a decent laugh this weekend, go see this movie. If you missed laughing since Bridesmaids, go see this movie. Hell, just go see it.

Grade: A-

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