Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds’s body-switching comedy The Change-Up opens this weekend, and the critics agree: It’s “raunchy,” “lowbrow,” “scatological,” “erratic,” and “unexciting.” Nearly every review mentions that a baby defecates in a man’s mouth in the film, which makes The Change-Up a filthy descendant of Freaky Friday.
“Freaky Friday meets The Hangover … ” —Washington Post
“Think an R-rated Freaky Friday with dudes … While this raunchy Freaky Friday meets Trading Places has some laughs, it’s more often frat-boy crass, frantic and formulaic.” —USA Today
“After 1976’s Freaky Friday, Hollywood began spitting out body-swap comedies so regularly that the routine of horrified characters feeling themselves up in their suddenly older, younger, or differently-gendered bodies is practically an annual event.” —Time
“Crash, lightning, temporary power outage, Freaky Friday! The deal is done. The next day each guy wakes up in the body of the other. Discovery of genital distinctions follows.” —EW
“Has the moment finally arrived when we look back upon Freaky Friday as a model of comedic sophistication?” —Time Out New York
“This can be charming, as when Tom Hanks did it in Big (1988) or Jodie Foster in Freaky Friday (1976)…. To mention such movies in connection with this one is a sacrilege.” — Roger Ebert
Okay, but how gay is it?
” … the only thing left to do is confront their latent longing for one another. The film’s final dialogue exchange reveals The Change-Up to be one long setup to a bromantic joke that, in a roundabout way, maybe comes closer than any previous film to fulfilling that woebegone subgenre’s implicit homoerotic endgame. In a film about two straight men coming to terms with their true selves while being forcibly confronted by their fear of anal function, it’s almost a surprise these guys stop just short of actually Doing It.” —Village Voice
“Although Olivia Wilde co-stars as Dave’s comely legal assistant, this is primarily a vehicle for the same veiled homoerotic impulses that drive the bromantic-comedy genre (witness the recurring motif of Mitch giving Dave instructions in the care and grooming of his nether-regions).” —Washington Post
“The biggest laughs in the erratic script (by the authors of The Hangover) come from gay-panic jokes revolving around this bromantic couple’s handling of each other’s borrowed penises.” —New York Post
“If I must watch two men not be gay together for the 300th time this summer, those men should be Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds…. Nothing directly or conventionally sexual passes between them. And as much as you’d like to credit the screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and the director David Dobkin for basically using one genre (the body-swap comedy) to exploit and wink at another (bromance), The Change-Up only heightens the sense that were two men in a major comedy — played by, say, Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman — ever to play friends in gay love with each other, ESPN would explode.” —Boston Globe
Is it schmaltzy?
“That, essentially, is The Change-Up’s trajectory: from shit to schmaltz” —Village Voice
“Both emerge with charisma intact, rising above the underlying schmaltzy message.” —USA Today
“Inevitably succumbing to schmaltz” —New York Times
Fine. But are there bimbos?
“It is a perfect role for Mr. Reynolds, Hollywood’s ranking male bimbo.” —NYT
“Reynolds does his vaguely creepy himbo thing” —TONY
Bimbos, poop, schmaltz, gay panic, and a Freaky Friday redux. You’re welcome, America!