Who's In It: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin
The Basics: Mitch (Reynolds) is a sometimes-working actor who mostly uses his dramatic skills to lure girls into bed. His friend Dave (Bateman) is a hardworking, stuffy lawyer with a family. Since it's easier to just keep going with what doesn't work instead of changing your life, they still feel okay pretending to hang out and be friends. On one of the rare occasions that they get together, they get too drunk at a sports bar and end up relieving themselves in a public fountain. When they confess they want each other's lives, the fountain decides to punish them for their urinary crimes and switches their bodies. Oh my goodness--this means that the incompetent boob is a lawyer, and the fuddy-duddy has to act on a movie set. How crazy is that?!
What's The Deal: Put in the hands of less competent actors, this movie would have been completely skippable. However, since they both hold their own and the jokes are surprisingly biting, it ends up being tolerable. Like all body-switching movies to come before it, the real fun begins when actors play each other (Nic Cage and John Travolta in the unlikely but fun Face/Off comes to mind). Usually, the cream rises to the top performance-wise, and in this movie, we call that cream Jason Bateman. His take on Reynolds' spoiled party boy is absolutely delightful and carries the entire film. It's no secret that Bateman is one of Hollywood's most reliable performers, and although the entire cast is commendable here, he definitely wins the race. Is it enough for me to tell you to spend your hard-earned money to go see the film? Well, there's a big poop joke about five minutes in, so not quite.
The Most Major Flaw: It wasn't a great idea to cast two white guys with brown hair in a movie about switching bodies, since they're essentially the same person (yes, white people all look alike to me). I often found myself confused at who was supposed to be who, and it was Bateman's charmingly over-the-top performance that always helped bring me back.
The Freakiest Part Of This Friday: There are a lot of boobs in the movie, sometimes belonging to the main actresses Wilde and Mann. That would normally be fine, except that they're completely computer-generated. Where is this coming from? Are stars that enthusiastic about selecting their own computer-generated nipples? Or is this a Roosevelt-like move to create more jobs in a down economy? This whole thing makes me want to give Halle Berry another Oscar just to say "thanks for keeping them real."
Island Of Misfit Body-Switching Devices: Imagine taking a cruise to what you thought was Catalina, but ends up being the dumping ground for every machine/artifact/liquid that wants to teach humanity a lesson. You would have the potion from Like Father Like Son, the fortune-telling machine from Big, this movie's fountain, the face-making technology of the aforementioned Face/Off, the fortune cookie from Freaky Friday, and the skull from Vice Versa. Let's make a movie about that, shall we? Then maybe we can see this tired genre switched OFF for a while.