Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman star in the outrageous comedy from the director of Wedding Crashers and the writers of The Hangover. One drunken night, two friends admit that they wish they had the other’s life. Mitch (Reynolds) thinks Dave has it all: a beautiful, loving family and a high-paying job at a prestigious law firm. But Dave (Bateman) thinks Mitch’s stress-free life without obligation or consequence is the real dream come true. The next morning they wake up, hungover, in each other’s bodies, and proceed to freak out! With time not on their side, Mitch and Dave comically struggle to avoid completely destroying each other’s lives before they can find a way to get their old ones back.
Every generation has a reflective body-swap comedy thrust upon it, with results ranging from the genteel Reagan-era George Burns vehicle 18 Again to the slyly empowering, cell phone-savvy remake of Freaky Friday. Fueled by two amazingly game performances from Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, The Change-Up goes for the gross-out, happily wallowing where those previous films dared not tread. Whatever this says about the current state of society, there's no denying that the results are consistently, ridiculously funny. Kicking off with a gag involving a baby that might give even John Waters pause, director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) wastes no time getting to the gimmick, via a magical fountain that rearranges the brains of an uptight family-man lawyer (Bateman) and party-animal actor (Reynolds). What follows plays like a greatest-hits medley of the genre, shot through with a steadily escalating level of filth. (The reveal of Reynolds's girlfriend will not soon be forgotten/expunged.) Adept as the leads are, they also leave room in the spotlight for some killer supporting players, including Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde, and especially Apatow vet Leslie Mann, who delivers two lengthy monologues that veer from sympathetic to gloriously bent without missing a beat. High art it most definitely ain't, but The Change-Up lands squarely in the borderland between offensive and hilarious, where the best shock comedies reside. You'll laugh until you gag, and vice versa. --Andrew Wright