Thursday, August 4, 2011

'The Change-Up' confuses gross and funny

Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds wallow in another raunchy Hollywood comedy.
There's a difference between raunchy and funny, but the new comedy The Change-Up hasn't figured out what it is. That's why The Change-Up opens with a baby spraying a stream of excrement into a frustrated father's face. Yuck and double yuck! **** I suppose there'll be some who happily go along with the movie's shopworn conceit: a married lawyer (Jason Bateman) switches bodies with his reprobate pal (Ryan Reynolds). .... Each man gets a taste of the other's life, and -- here's a surprise -- each becomes a better person because of the swap. The sober married guy discovers that his humdrum life isn't so bad after all, and the single slothful guy learns something about the satisfaction of living up to one's responsibilities. .... Essentially, The Change-Up is one more buddy movie, which means the women serve as props. Looking more fetching than she did in last week's Cowboys & Aliens) Olivia Wilde portrays a hot-looking lawyer with a wild streak. Leslie Mann appears as the wife of Bateman's character. **** Bateman's a capable comic actor, and Reynolds -- last seen in the abysmal Green Lantern -- seems a fine fit for an odd-couple pairing built around the idea that, one way or another, American manhood is a story of failed dreams. But, for what little there is of my money, Bridesmaids was a smarter, raunchy comedy than this silly and extremely distasteful, R-rated mess.

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