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The Change-Up

John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

"The Change-Up" (Universal) constitutes a raunchy comic riff on the age-old switched-identities premise, a fetid "Freaky Friday" calculated to please only those sophomoric moviegoers who thrill at having their sensibilities assaulted by what they see on screen.

That onslaught begins betimes as we're introduced to the home life of diligent but beleaguered husband and dad Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman). Dave's sleepy middle-of-the-night effort to get his baby's diaper changed turns into the kind of revolting misadventure that might keep a somewhat backward fourth grader in stitches.

And speaking of underachieving grade schoolers, enter Dave's foil, and best friends since childhood, Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds). A commitment-phobic ne'er-do-well, Mitch drifts his days away with nary a care, but nonetheless envies Dave's role as a family man. And Dave, of course, reciprocates by yearning for the freedom Mitch enjoys.

When, after a night out on the town together, the two pals simultaneously give vent to their mutual jealousy while using a local fountain as a urinal—a characteristic touch—we're on to the fact, if they aren't, that tomorrow they'll wake up inhabiting each other's bodies.

For Dave that means keeping Mitch's appointment on the set of a "lorn," i.e., "light porn" movie, where he cavorts with fellow cast members of both sexes. For Mitch it involves failing spectacularly to fit in at Dave's button-down law firm, then returning home to find his long-standing ardor for Dave's wife, Jamie (Leslie Mann), suddenly cooled by her noisy, open-door use of their en suite bathroom.

And so it goes. Mitch, it emerges, has an aberrant taste for expectant mothers, a jones he indulges by trolling for talent at Lamaze classes. Dave's more orthodox appetites have him using his new persona to chase fetching law office associate Sabrina (Olivia Wilde) after whom he has long lusted.

With exquisite casuistry, Dave reasons that sleeping with Sabrina won't count as cheating on Jamie as long as he uses Mitch's body to do it.

By the time we get to an extended, late-reel joke wherein Mitch, as Dave, compares the closing of an important business deal to the successful seduction of a Catholic schoolgirl, the wearied viewer is almost too numb to be offended. Almost.

As helmed by David Dobkin, this puerile mess amounts to little more than yet another tiresome attempt to expand the boundaries of bad taste.

The film contains graphic nonmarital sexual activity, masturbation, upper female and rear nudity, drug use, repulsive scatological humor, several uses of profanity, and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.

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