Blu-ray Review: The Change-Up - The Guiltiest of Pleasures!

If you like your comedies lowbrow and ridiculous then you know that Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynold's won't fail to deliver.

rating: 4

There's no denying it, The Change-Up isn't exactly the height of cinematic art. Instead, it does exactly what it says on the tin and entertains... Released on Triple Play Blu-Ray and DVD today, check out our review below. Growing up together, Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (Jason Bateman) were inseparable best friends, but as the years have passed they've slowly drifted apart. While Dave is an overworked lawyer, husband and father of three, Mitch has remained a single, quasi-employed man-child who has never met a responsibility he liked. To Mitch, Dave has it all: beautiful wife Jamie (Leslie Mann), kids who adore him and a high-paying job at a prestigious law firm. To Dave, living Mitch's stress-free life without obligation or consequence is a world away from his sensible, settled lifestyle. Following a drunken night out together, Mitch and Dave's worlds are turned upside down when they wake up in each other's bodies and proceed to freak out. Despite the freedom from their normal routines and habits, the guys soon discover that each other's lives are nowhere near as rosy as they once seemed. Further complicating matters are Dave's sexy legal associate, Sabrina (Olivia Wilde) and Mitch's estranged father (Alan Arkin). With time not on their side, Mitch and Dave comically struggle to avoid completely destroying each other's lives before they can find a way to get their old ones back... The old switching bodies comedy gag has been done to death, lets face it. From the original Freaky Friday back in 1976, through Vice Versa in 1988 right back to the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday, what keeps audiences coming back to this age old narrative trope? In the simplest of terms, it's because it's so damn funny! The Change-Up takes this very simple premise and turns into a crude, rude and totally cringe-worthy farce that will undoubtedly be the guiltiest of pleasures for fans of films such as The Hangover and Horrible Bosses. What makes The Change-Up far more enjoyable than other body-switch comedies is that €“ despite subjecting audiences to the most infantile humour €“ the switch isn't between a child and an adult. Therefore, all of the topics that were out of bounds in previous films (think sex and pornography) are fair game here... Cue utterly ridiculous but pant-wettingly hilarious scenes that see David (now in Mitch's body) forced to make a porno with a woman who is easily 80 but tries to look 21 and a greasy, tangoed, Latin looking lothario! The Change-Up is literally 2 hours of side-splitting hilarity that appeals to audiences' most lowbrow sense of humour. However, interjected between these vignettes of ridiculous hilarity, an overarching narrative theme is developed and the characters are subject to moments of tenderness and dramatic poignancy as well. This means that should viewers wish, the film is much more than a series of comic interludes. However, equally so, if viewers couldn't care less about how the character's escapades help them learn volumes about their own lives and what they need to do to improve these once they switch back, there's enough silliness to keep them entertained for the full runtime. The film is very much a performance based comedy and, as such, the cast give excellent performances. Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds prove just why they remain A-list comedians, managing to slide seamlessly between the two characters they end up playing. Both set up their respective characters to display certain tropes, which the other then perfectly captures for the remainder of the film once they've switched bodies. This ability to capture each other's characteristics is what helps make the film as successful as it is. Bateman is familiar for his slightly uptight roles that see his character take a fall into a series of absurd events and Dave is no different here. However, Bateman gets to let loose and play slightly crazy when Dave's body is subjected to Mitch's mind! The actor proves that he is as equally adept at over the top physical comedy as he is verbal wit, managing to play certain scenes (especially those set in the boardroom of the law firm Dave works for) utterly hilariously. Ryan Reynolds has developed into a comedy actor generally associated with below average productions, but here he brings his A-game and manages to demonstrate real comic timing and talent. The transformation into the straight-laced personality of Bateman's Dave is seamless and Reynolds is equally amusing in the scenes that see him tone down the physical ridiculousness to provide a more subtle sense of comic exasperation. Leslie Mann provides stellar support as Dave's long-suffering, but dedicated wife Jamie. Jamie provides the emotional depth behind the farcical comedy and Mann is adept at playing these more challenging sequences, as well as bringing her own comic talent. The actress has the ability to inject subtle comedy into the most ferment sequences and one of her finest moments comes when she traps her teenage babysitter into enduring her emotional blabbering! Olivia Wilde is perfectly cast as Dave's beautiful legal aid Sabrina and the actress manages to make the most of her role, despite the fact that she's criminally underused. Wilde manages to capture both the professional persona of the character at work and the outrageous, fun-loving party animal that she is outside of the office. Her ability to play both roles so effectively makes her potential match for either Dave or Mitch, giving the film a little suspense as to how things may pan out in the end. Further, humorous support comes in the shape of Alan Arkin as Mitch's father (the actor brings comedy and heart to his scenes, but isn't featured nearly as much as he should be), Craig Bierko as an insane Eastern European porno director (quite simply hilarious, despite appealing to the most lowbrow of comedy lovers!), Sidney Rouviere as Dave's cute and precocious daughter Cara, Gregory Itzkin as Dave's flabbergasted and uptight boss (another superb physical performance that would work on facial expressions alone), plus a host of other talents. Essentially, The Change-Up is a film that embodies the least sophisticated of all comedy tropes, but it's successful precisely because of this!

QUALITY

Universal have produced a high definition print of exceptional quality on this Blu-ray release, with images clean from any major blemishing or distortion. Certain sequences are littered with an insubstantial, light grain, but these are few and far between and the level of disturbance doesn't detract from the overall quality of the visuals or distract viewers from proceedings. The clarity of the images is commendable and even the smallest of details are clearly visible: from minute facial details to cosmetic imperfections in the brickwork of Mitch's apartment. Colours are vibrant and absorbing, with the films colour palette ranging from warm red-orange hues to icy cold blues and greys. No matter where the colours on screen fall within this palette, they are lucid enough to bring the images alive and make the film a feast for audiences eyes. Skin tones generally appear natural and none of the stars seem too heavily or obviously made up (apart from in the porn shoot sequence, where the heavy make up is used to brilliant comic effect!). The audio is of a similar high quality, with dialogue clear and clean throughout the narrative. There is a solid distinction and blend between the various audio channels, with ambient noises or the soundtrack ever becoming overly dominant within a scene. What makes the quality of The Change-Up's audio so pleasant, is the fact that viewers won't constantly find themselves having to adjust the volume of their TV's to compensate the various degrees of audio level!

EXTRAS

Universal's Triple Play Blu-ray release comes with an entertaining, but very light, compilation of bonus material. Viewers will find that on the surface they have enough to sink their teeth into after the film has ended, but won't come away feeling particularly satisfied with what has been offered. The following supplementary features are housed on the release:
Both the Theatrical and Extended Unrated Cuts of the film Deleted Scenes Fist Fight Gag Reel Feature Commentaries from Director David Dobkin on both cuts of the film Time For a Change Featurette Family Matter Featurette
Film: 3.5 out of 5 If you like your comedies lowbrow and ridiculous then you know that Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynold's won't fail to deliver. Whilst The Change-Up isn't quite as memorable as the former's previous smash-hit comedy, Horrible Bosses, there are enough gags and cringe-worthy moments to make the 2 hour runtime (of the extended unrated cut) fly by! You'll have seen it before and you'll more than likely see it again, but you're also likely to enjoy the silliness... Visuals: 4.5 out of 5 The Change-Up comes to Blu-ray with a solid HD transfer that is virtually free from any form of distortion or major blemishing. Certain sequences are inflicted with a light grain, but this isn't severe enough to warrant distraction from the film. Colours are lucid and vibrant as well. Audio: 4.5 out of 5 Balance between various audio channels is extremely proficient and audiences will find clean and clear dialogue, a robust musical soundtrack and subtle but distinguishable ambient sounds throughout. Extras: 3 out of 5 There's enough bonus material on the disc to entertain viewers after the end credits roll. However, nothing other than the director commentary is really that insightful. Viewers will undoubtedly chuckle, but will also come away wanting more most likely. Presentation: 4 out of 5 Using the poster imagery from the cinematic ad campaign, the front cover of the release will look familiar to audiences. However, the image perfectly captures the tone of the film and viewers won't feel they've been mislead. The video menus are well laid out and are easy to follow. Overall: 4 out of 5 As an overall package, Universal's release is certainly solid. The film, whilst not being entirely perfect, is bolstered by interesting special features and has a sleek and glossy look. Essentially, it fits perfectly into the mould of what Blu-ray consumers want. The Change-Up is released today on Blu-ray in the UK.
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