It’s a premise as old as film itself — call it the body switch. And though usually played for laughs, the switch often leads to some interesting revelations. In The Change-Up, two friends — married-with-children lawyer Dave (Jason Bateman) and free-spirited bachelor Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) —spend a night on the town and wake the next morning in each other’s bodies. Each has envied his friend’s life and, as happens in films with this premise, each is in for a rude awakening.
The film, written by The Hangover creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, does not hold back on crude humor, but there is a deeper message as well, one that director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) says should resonate with viewers. “Lucas and Moore are such masterful writers that they make things seem easy,” says Dobkin, “when in fact there’s been a tremendous amount of thought and depth beneath the surface.”
The writers got the idea from their monthly dinners with a group of guys. The singles had little idea what it was like to be married, while the married ones had no idea what it was really like to be single. These conversations, Lucas says, became the backbone of the film.
Longtime friends Bateman and Reynolds — who worked together on the film Smokin’ Aces — showed their acting chops and ability to do physical comedy while playing each other. The friendship also allowed for some improv in the scenes. In an R-rated comedy, that also means pushing the envelope.
“An R-rated movie is the most creative experience you can have because there are no limits to what you can do,” Reynolds says. “For an actor it’s like winning the lottery; you’re living in a world where fantastic, creative things happen.”
Bateman adds, “We worked fast and had time to explore. Our job was to make the comedy play like it would in the real world if you switched bodies. Hopefully, people will appreciate that while they’re laughing at things they might not normally.”
“The Change-Up” is available starting Nov. 8 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2011 Universal Studios