Do you hate your life? Are you constantly wishing you could inhabit someone else’s body? Do you have mystical skulls or ancient talismans just sitting around? Have you ever wanted to look in a mirror and be surprised to see someone else’s face? If you answered yes, then body-swapping may be for you! So often seen in Hollywood and so rarely experienced in real life, the act of swapping bodies isn’t nearly as hard as it seems, so long as one heeds, extremely precisely, the lessons taught in body-swapping movies, the latest of which is this weekend’s Ryan Reynolds–Jason Bateman two-hander The Change-Up. The technique promulgated by The Change-Up — pissing in a public fountain while saying “I wish I had your life” — works well for men in their 30s or 40s who have nice hair and a cavalier attitude toward public urination laws. But what if that doesn’t describe you? How then are you supposed to swap bodies? Here are some directions.
If you’re a teenage girl who wants to swap bodies with your mom: Go to a Chinese restaurant, argue loudly with your mom, and, when the kindly owner gives you fortune cookies, eat them immediately. There will be a mini-earthquake and you’ll wake up with a craving for Activia. As seen in Freaky Friday, 2003 version.
If you’re a donkey who wants to swap bodies with a cat: Ask a washed-up wizard, preferably named Merlin, to cast a teleportation spell on you. If it goes wrong — and if he’s sufficiently shoddy, it will — you’ll wake up with paws where you once had hooves. As seen in Shrek the Third.
If you’re a high-school cheerleader who wants to swap bodies with a Rob Schneider: Steal a pair of mystical African earrings from the mall, lose one, and make sure a Rob Schneider has the other. Fall asleep in the earring and you’ll wake up uglier than you ever thought possible. As seen in The Hot Chick.
If you’re a teenage boy who wants to swap bodies with his father: Get your hands on some brain-transference serum and put it in a small bottle of Tabasco sauce. When your heart-surgeon father gets home from work, make sure he mixes himself a Bloody Mary with the serum. You’ll wake up with bills to pay. As seen in Like Father, Like Son.
If you’re a divorced man in your twenties who wants to swap bodies with your pre-adolescent son: After a trip to China, accidentally swap bags with smugglers carrying a mysterious ornamental skull. Once home, get into an argument with your son, whom you don’t see much because you and his mother don’t get along. Wish aloud that you and your son could switch bodies, then touch the skull at the same time. You’ll wake up with Fred Savage’s haircut. As seen in Vice Versa.
If you’re an old man who wants to swap bodies with a punk kid: Go into your yard with your wife and attempt to enter a high-level meditative state together. At the moment you reach that state, a punk kid who looks like his name should be Corey will run through your yard, crash into a girl on her bike, and get knocked unconscious. You’ll wake up wearing a Van Halen shirt. As seen in Dream a Little Dream.
If you’re a crippled millionairess who wants to swap bodies with a young woman: Employ a swami who tells you to “put the soul in the bowl!” Do it, and then start a complicated ceremony with him. Just be careful; this method could go wrong and implant your soul into the right side of the body of a white-haired attorney who looks like Steve Martin. As seen in All of Me.
If you’re a man in your eighties who wants to swap bodies with your grandson: Convince the boy that, despite your poor eyesight and diminished reaction time, you can still drive. Then crash your car into a storefront. You’ll wake up with a history class to get to. As seen in 18 Again!
If you’re a scary old man who wants to switch bodies with someone who’s about to marry Alec Baldwin: Approach the woman, who looks a lot like Meg Ryan, on her wedding day and ask to kiss her. Plant your fat, wrinkly, sun-damaged lips on hers. You’ll wake up with some consummating to do. As seen in Prelude to a Kiss.
If you’re a nerdy girl who wants to swap bodies with a football player: Go on a school trip with the football player and anger the ancient Aztec god Tezcatlipoca by fighting in front of him. You’ll wake up with a wiener. As seen in It’s a Boy Girl Thing.
If you’re a 13-year-old girl who wants to swap bodies with your 30-year-old self: Cry in your closet next to a dollhouse covered in magic wishing powder and repeat “I want to be 30, flirty, and thriving.” You’ll wake up with boobs. As seen in 13 Going on 30.
If you’re a teenage boy who wants to swap bodies with your older self: Go to the carnival and find Zoltar, a fortune-telling machine. Insert a quarter, smack the machine when it doesn’t work, and once it does light up, say, “I wish I were big.” You’ll wake up with chest hair. As seen in Big.
If you’re a middle-aged man who wants to swap bodies with your 17-year-old self: Go back to your high school and meet the janitor, who will look like Brian Doyle Murray. When you see the janitor jumping off a bridge on your drive home, jump too. You’ll wake up as sexy as Zac Efron. As seen in 17 Again.