In the new comedy, a bachelor and a family man switch lives, learn stuff women already know.
If American Pie and Freaky Friday got drunk and haphazard one night and made a baby, it'd be The Change-Up. Check out the movie poster or trailer, and you know what happens. Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) is an underemployed actor and dude-about-town who's never met a skirt he wouldn't chase—or couldn't catch. Dave (Jason Bateman) is his best friend and complete opposite. He's an adult with all the trimmings: three kids, a beautiful wife (Leslie Mann) and an impressive career.
And of course, neither is quite happy with his lot in life.
On a drunken night out, Mitch and Dave end up wishing aloud that they had each other's lives, and poof! Granted. (Peeing in a public fountain while making said wish may or may not be involved.) The next day, the two friends wake up in each other's bodies and begrudgingly have to fill the other's shoes. Of course, complications arise. The change-up just happens to coincide with Mitch's big break in a movie and a merger that could spell partnership at Dave's law firm.
And then there's a lot of poop. And awkward sex humor. And everyone else is oblivious to what's happened.
There's quite a lot of disbelief to suspend—like, as much disbelief as Ryan Reynolds is tall. How could such polar opposites sustain a friendship like that over time? If anything, in real life they might be Facebook friends. And why didn't anyone find it strange that "Dave" went from being a responsible husband and father to a crude stoner fratboy overnight? How is his wife not insisting on an MRI?
This testosterone-filled take on the body swapping plot device is remarkably implausible, but it deserves props for making married life look better and more egalitarian than we're used to seeing. Mitch's single life of freedom and casual sex looks downright pathetic in comparison, and both men realize it. Monogamy 1, Douchebaggery 0.
But will Mitch and Dave be able to return to their own lives, and show what they've learned from the experience? You'll have to see The Change-Up in theaters this Friday to find out.
In the meantime, consider how different the movie would be if the main characters were two women switching lives. I'd say women still feel more pressure than men to settle down and have a family—or justify why they don't want to do these things. I tend to think women also have more empathy and realize that life and love are challenging, whichever side of the grass you're on. Do you agree?
Have you ever wished you could switch lives—and lovestages—with a friend?