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Change-Up, The


Stars: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Gregory Itzin, Mircea Monroe, Dax Griffin, Craig Bierko

Director: David Dobkin

If we really must have another body-swap comedy, then this potty-mouthed but essentially good-natured example is tolerable enough. The two leading actors work so well within their characters, in fact, that at times it's hard to remember which is supposed to be which.

Bateman is the family guy trying to cope with three small children and a stressful job where a partnership is on the line. His buddy Reynolds is a handsome loafer whose father (Arkin) vaguely tries to make contact with him now and again. Peeing in a fountain together, they express a desire to live each other's lives. Why this is so in Reynolds' case isn't too clear, but at any rate it's a wish that the fountain promptly grants. They still look the same persons, but their souls have swapped.

After some predictable disasters, each begins to throw himself into the other's lifestyle, Bateman as Reynolds getting to make porno movies and date the office hottie (Wilde), while Reynolds as Bateman, when not up to his neck in baby-poo, swots up on corporate law in a bid to broker a vital deal.

Despite the general good humour and a veritable avalanche of swearing, actual laughs are in short supply here, thanks to a moderate script that's short on both verbal and visual originality. It's also rather disappointing that both men decide to prefer their old lives at the end. There would seem to be more cutting comedy mileage in the opposite course, but the film settles for the soft option at the rose-coloured ending.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour (unspecified).
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 11 Sep 2011