Review: The Change-Up

Jason Bateman is Dave and Ryan Reynolds is Mitch in  The Change-Up ... or is it the other way around.
Jason Bateman is Dave and Ryan Reynolds is Mitch in The Change-Up ... or is it the other way around.

(MA15+) ***

Director: David Dobkin.

Cast: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann.

AHH, the old body-switch scenario, where two characters learn life lessons by walking some literal miles in another person's shoes (and feet, for that matter).

Here the well-worn concept is given a modern lick-of-paint to make it resemble a cross between a patchy gross-out comedy and a wacky fratboy comedy, but for grown-ups.

It kind of works, with a few guilty laughs along the way as shiftless womanising man-child Mitch (Reynolds) and his hardworking family-man buddy Dave (Bateman) swap lives via a synchronised tinkle in a wishing well.

Naturally, Mitch will learn the rewards of working hard and settling down, and Dave will discover what his family really means to him and that life isn't all about work.

If you don't go in expecting too much, you'll enjoy The Change-Up. It's certainly got its funny moments - Dave's sexual entanglements in Mitch's body are in hilarious poor taste, as is an opening sequence about the joys of nappy-changing.

The life/work balance is a decent-enough moral to take from the story, even if the story itself is uncertain about where that balance lies.

Mann is great in her supporting role as Dave's long-suffering wife, and the usually reliable Bateman and Reynolds are passable, even if you can't help but wish they were able to do something more with a film where they get to play each other. Maybe it's the script, maybe it's because they are too alike as actors anyway, but somehow it feels like a missed opportunity for the pair. Aside from Mitch's swearing and Dave's waking routine, neither actor is convincing as the other person.

Luckily their comic timing is convincing, otherwise this would be a total waste of time.