How's the movie?
The Change-Up is the kind of comedy that works precisely because of how committed it stays to its pitch. This isn't just another body-swap comedy, this is an R-rated body swap comedy written by the pair who wrote The Hangover and directed by the guy who made Wedding Crashers. And while I didn't care much for either of those, the surprisingly sweet heart of the movie, anchored by the always great Leslie Mann, here makes it more than just a string of "Yay, we're men!" jokes. Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds are perfectly cast and hit the right tones even when the things they're doing, like fighting knife-wielding babies or having sex with absurdly pregnant women, are ridiculous.
Is The Change-Up the funniest movie of the year? No, but it's still worth checking out.
Rotten Tomatoes: 24% Rotten with critics, 57% liked by the audience
Box Office: $64 million world wide
What are the vitals on the disc?
Release Date: November 8th, 2011
Number of Discs: 2 (1 x BD, 1 x DVD)
Digital Copy: Yes
Runtime: 108 minutes
Video: 1080p, AVC MPEG-4, 2.4:1 Aspect Ratio
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
How does it look and sound?
Frankly, baby poop on Jason Bateman's face shouldn't look this sharp, but The Change-Up is one of those comedies that doesn't settle for a flat, generic look. Don't get me wrong, the cinematography is hardly going to blow your mind and I'm hardly recommending the film for its mise-en-scène, but it's a better looking film than you'd expect and the HD transfer reflects that. There's a lot of detail and texture throughout that's presented in crystal clear fidelity. This is the kind of video quality that highlights its human cast perfectly (a little too perfectly in Olivia Wilde's case) while also showcasing how inhuman some of its CGI gags, including Leslie Mann's frontal nudity, look in high definition.
And if the top notch look of the film weren't already surprise enough, it's got a sound mix to match. A lot of the enjoyment comes from John Debney's score, which, while not particularly a challenging piece of music, is always a pleasure to hear. There's also a lot of nuance mixed in here, be it convincing downpours of rain or the sound of baby powder poofing into the air. For a movie that you'd never think would demand to be seen and heard in HD, it's surprisingly refined.
What about the special features?
The unrated cut on the disc contains an extra five minutes of material, and it's worth watching because they're mostly scenes that were left out not because of their vulgarity, but for tone and length (for example, a scene where Bateman can't actually hook up with Mann). As far as extras go, there's not a lot here and it's all fairly typical for a comedy like this, which is to say "Fluffy, maybe mildly amusing, but forgettable." Listed in order of worth:
Family Matters (5 minutes, HD) - As far as standalone features go, this is really the only one worth watching just because it shows a super creepy animatronic baby pooping on Jason Bateman's face. Over and over and over.
Audio Commentary with Director David Dobkin - I'm not going to lie. I listened to this entire commentary track out of the hope of hearing Dobkin explain why they put CGI breasts on both Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde, but not once does he bring it up. Beyond that disappointment, though, it's informative and offers some interesting insights into the process (and justification for) making an R-rated comedy in Hollywood these days.
Fist Fight Deleted Scene (7 minutes, HD) - Technically this is a deleted scene because it's obviously no longer in the movie, but that title is a little misleading since this is actually the original ending of the movie. It's easy to see why they wanted to reshoot it, too. Their fight in front of the fountain accomplishes the same goal, but it's not as funny because of the more intimate setting.
Time for a Change (7 minutes, HD) - A press kit-quality making-of that doesn't really offer any insights beyond hearing everyone on the cast and crew say this was the funniest script they've ever read.
Gag Reel (5 minutes, HD) - A dull gag reel considering how funny the actors flubbing their lines usually are.
Maybe I was just in a good mood, maybe I just like this entire cast too much, but I was pleasantly relieved to see that The Change-Up was a big step up from Wedding Crashers. Sure, it still keeps some very immature material around, but it's got a strong cast to class it up whenever things get too juvenile. You could probably wait to catch it on cable at some point, but if you don't feel like waiting a few months and are in for some crude and occasionally heartfelt laughs, it's worth a rent.