Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Film Yap: The Change-Up

You know what kind of movie “The Change-Up” is? It’s the kind of movie where the heroes park their car in the front of every building, shut the doors without locking them, and they aren’t towed despite the fact the “No Parking” sign is accidently in the frame.

To do something like this isn’t just about being lazy, it’s about being boring. Usually the ability to park everywhere is just a magical part of Hollywood, but it is one of those clichés that everyone recognizes. This parking nitpick extends to the rest of the film where anyone who has ever seen a film can guess where ever scene is going.

Jason Bateman plays Dave who is a family man who has to wake up at 3AM to change diapers only to go to his successful law firm several hours later. What hell he lives in. Ryan Reynolds is Mitch who smokes pot all day and is incredibly crass. They envy each other’s lives, which means they will switch bodies so they can learn some stupid lesson.

This stupid lesson where they must recognize that their own lives are pretty great is so forced, the characters should start to become paranoid that planet Earth is reshaping itself to teach them this stupid lesson.

Q: Why was a magic fountain moved out of a park and into a location nobody has record of? A: For they need to learn to respect their old lives.

Q: Why does Mitch’s dad awkwardly want to have lunch with Dave—WHO IS SECRETLY MITCH BUT HE DOESN’T KNOW THAT—to talk about all the things he always wanted to say to Mitch even though it’s not clear that Dave and Mitch’s dad even know each other? A: Mitch needs to learn a stupid lesson.

Q: Why does Dave’s wife only talk about Dave’s life goals when she’s upset? A: So that Dave in Mitch’s body can learn a stupid lesson.

Q: How did Dave’s boss come up with a PowerPoint about Dave’s life covering his childhood and marriage but never talking about his job which is how he actually knows Dave? A: BECAUSE MITCH AS DAVE NEEDS TO LEARN A STUPID LESSON.

Everything is so contrived that it really makes more sense if they were part of a Truman Show-esque conspiracy where even baseball games are formed to make sure they learn a lesson. Every secondary character is irrelevant but the way this movie portrays women is irredeemable.

The women characters defy science by being zero-dimensional. Leslie Mann is a hysterical actress who seems embarrassed to say what’s written in the script. Anything that is wrong with their marriage is all about how Dave isn’t fulfilling his dreams, nothing about what she wants. When she is the most upset it is because Dave (BUT REALLY IT’S MITCH!!!) said she wasn’t attractive to him after an extended poop scene.

Olivia Wilde is a legal secretary who has a crush on Dave but then goes on a forced date with Mitch to save her job (It makes zero sense). Then she falls for Mitch (BUT HE’S REALLY DAVE!!!!). Then on the second date she changes all of the things she’s attracted to so she’s more interested in Mitch. This was only done so the leads can both have someone attractive at the end.

Hiring Wilde only to be attractive is such a common practice in these worthless shallow films that nobody raises an eyebrow. My eyebrows were raised when actresses were hired to be attractive and then their breasts (and in one case pregnant belly) were done in CGI. Instead of actual nudity, Mann and Wilde have CGI breasts exposed.

The CGI budget doesn’t end there. “The Change-Up” also wisely spends millions on some of the worst green screen driving, a CGI baby throwing a knife with super-strength so it can go through a door, and a CGI baby butt that propels CGI green poop.

All of this could have been excused if the movie just did one thing. (Well almost all…). It just had to be funny. Have jokes that landed. Instead this is just a pathetic extension of uncreative profanity, tired situations, and a movie that works hard to be a complete mess. I hate that I have seen this movie.

The extras are also stupid. There is a weird gag reel where it isn’t about actors laughing and ruining a take, but about how most of them didn’t bother to learn their lines. Then it ends with “Thanks for a great shoot!” implying this was made for the wrap party which is even weirder since they never showed it was fun to work on. There is also 5 more minutes added for an “UNRATED” edition, which is a bluff because it’s just worthless footage. There is also an unenthusiastic making-of and a feature commentary done only by the director, which I haven’t had a chance to hear, but I hope most of it is him saying, “Ryan and Jason said they’ll be here any minute…”

Movie: 0.5 Yaps

Extras: 0.5 Yaps


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