Movie Review: The Change Up

Baby Excrement Jokes-a-go-go

So I did watch this last night, and realized something important about seeing movies you really don’t want to see: you don’t really mind getting a crappy seat.  I was right up front, and while that played out painfully at certain overly visual moments during the film, really didn’t care much.  It wasn’t like I was seeing this for the visuals.

So this movie.  Was it bad?  Yes.  Did it have good moments?  Some.  The problem was it really shifted back and forth without warning.  It kind of felt like you were driving down the freeway when all of a sudden you accidentally shift your car into reverse, tearing out the transmission and more or less ruining the trip, except it was happening every ten minutes.  You would actually be enjoying a funny scene and then, like wearing a dog shock collar controlled by an insane schizophrenic, you are suddenly subjected to an image or concept so jarring and and disconcerting that you feel like you were physically assaulted.  The earliest and most jarring one was when daddy got woken up at 3am by his twin babies.  You see the kids and they are cute, if noisy.  You are kind of into the heartwarming daddy scene and then all of a sudden he takes off the diaper and you are looking at (no joke) excrement covered baby taint.  I know there are some lowlife degenerate perverts for whom this is awesome (and honestly, they should set up a camera in each theater and just arrest anyone who doesn’t cringe), but for most humans this is god awful.  Then, as if that weren’t enough of a punch in the balls, the other baby starts puckering his anus (again, I wish I were joking, but I’m not) and literally excretes into daddy’s face and mouth.

You know, I like to think I am kind of normal, but I really have a major problem with human excrement.  I don’t want to see it, smell it, or in any way deal with it outside of the limits that I have to as a human being.  However, if this passes for normal humor and is not disturbing to the majority of movie goers than I am some kind of super freak.  I would be OK with that if this were the case.

Funny T shirtsThis actually brings me to my major issue with this film, and an ugly trend I am seeing in current movies.  I know that, thanks to the Hangover, rated R romantic comedies are all the rage, but I am seeing more and more of what can only be described as trying too hard.  It’s like in 5th grade when you finally get comfortably saying the F word, so you end up saying it as often as possible to prove to your friends how grown up you are.  This movie does everything possible to stay R and more or less almost pushes the X border, honestly to it’s detriment.  I am a fan of gratuitous nudity, but they explored every creepy possibility.  The occasional F bomb can be used to enhance dialogue when it flows naturally, but when you try to jam it into every sentence like trying to fit eight people into a Prius.  It just gets awkward and really stupid.  Some prime examples of this over the top effort to stay R rated include but are not limited to: multiple excrement jokes, a soft core porn scene (literally) with an aged porn star with breasts so fake they might as well had Goodyear stamped on them, a naked pregnant women, and multiple discussions of topics best relegated to the dregs of the internet.  Really, guys.  Rated R is one thing, but completely classless is another.  Crude humor in a sophisticated film loses impact and just turns into 11 year old kids saying the F word in the most awkward manner possible.

(Hangover Baby Carlos image courtesy of the funny t shirt category)

Also, this film lived up to my every expectation regarding Ryan Reynolds and his inability to play any character other than Van Wilder.  If you have seen him in any other movie he has done in his career than you have more or less seen this film.

Sigh.  The movie.  Van Wilder and Super Dad are childhood friends.  Van Wilder is a slacker actor who gets into soft core porn.  Super Dad is a high paid lawyer with three kids and a pretty hot wife.  They go out drinking and end up wishing for each others life while pissing into a magical fountain (God, this actually hurts to type).  They switch bodies and have to spend the rest of the film not screwing up each others lives.  The story grinds out in a horribly predicable manner: Van Wilder learns to be more responsible and not such a flake, and Super Dad learns to relax a little and not be such a workaholic.  They both dance around doing stuff they normally couldn’t do but back off before doing anything that could be considered really life altering.  The magic fountain was moved and they spent a lot of time looking for it, only to find out it was relocated into a busy mall, where they have to urinate in public (did I also mention that they both have to whip out their penises and urinate in front of a group of Girl Scouts?  This movie is like a sexual predator training film).

The stars.  Some fun moments here and there.  One star.  In a weird twist, I kind of got more into the sub plot of Super Dad trying to negotiate a major company merger than the actual main story.  Maybe I was secretly hoping it would turn into Wall Street or some other film that didn’t involved scatological humor.  One star.  In another weird twist, I was far more engaged and interested in the two female supporting characters than the main guys.  They seemed much more three dimensional and interesting.  One star.  That’s pretty much it.  Three lousy stars.

Now the black holes.  Where to begin?  I could give one for every time the movie went from tolerable to claw-your-own-face-off bad, but that would add up to like 150.  I will give it three, with one bonus black hole for the baby excrement scene.  Four total.  The movie pretty much undoes all the good work that Megan’s Law has done.  Two black holes.  One black hole for the fact that I spent most of the movie trying to figure out who was who between the two guys.  You would think with only two characters switching it would be easy, but the two characters are so two dimensional that I honestly had to think about which of the two was saying what.  One black hole.  Literally none of the nude scenes were in any way appealing, and more or less made for some really painful to watch visuals.  They not only made me ashamed to me a man, but ashamed to be human.  Two black holes.  Way, way, way too much foul language.  One black hole.  Yet more of the whole “negative behavior without any negative consequences” I have been railing against ever since my review of the Hangover Part 2.  Baby licking an electrical outlet and sticking it’s hand in a moving blender?  Saying things to a female coworker that should get you and your company sued?  Exposing yourself in public in front of kids and befouling a public fountain, also frequented by kids?  No way should any of these result in some kind of consequence to pay.  One black hole.  Van Wilder rides again.  One black hole.  Total: twelve black  holes.

So a grand total of nine black holes, a truly terrible score.  Not quite as bad as the other Ryan Reynolds film I have dumped on recently (Green Lantern, with 10 black holes), but really close.  Please, please don’t see this movie.  If it tanks maybe someone will get a clue and put some thought into the next rated R rom com instead of just vomiting all over a script.  I suppose some argument could be made for the whole “bromance” aspect of this movie, but that is like saying that your chemotherapy is saving you a fortune in haircuts.  Ironically, the R rating will really hurt this film at the box office, as the only people who should actually enjoy this film are too young to see it.  Or maybe in a coma.


  • Dan O. August 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    This is a disgusting film that may actually have some people gagging like crazy. It barely avoided getting slapped with an NC-17 rating, so it might be a struggle for some to get past all the envelope-pushing. But as gross as it can sometimes get, we were laughing too darn hard at it all to really pay that any mind. Nice Review! Check out mine when you can!

  • Dave August 9, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Thanks, Dan. I will!

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