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August 08, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-08-08

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Monday, August 8, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'The Change-Up' can't vary stale jokes.

By PHILIP CONKLIN
Daily Arts Writer
The first scene of "The Change-
Up" is a good indication of the tenor
of the movie. Dave, played by Jason
Bateman ("The
Switch"), wakes
to the sound of
his crying twin The Change-
babies. While
Dave changes Up
their diapers, At Quality16
these babiesa
wreak havoc and Rave
on their bed- Universal
room, spraying
baby powder
on Dave's face and knocking over
diaper boxes. Then, in the midst
of changing the second twin, Dave
leans over to pick up a diaper and
his baby projectile-poops into his
open mouth.
In a way, it's a kind gesture on
the part of the filmmakers; they're
letting the audience know what's
coming. The film defecates into
the mouth of the audience for two
hours.
"The Change-Up," directed by
David Dobkin ("Fred Claus"), fol-
lows the classic body-switching
comedy formula. Bateman plays an
overachieving lawyer with three
kids and a beautiful wife (Leslie
Mann, "Funny People"), living the

American middle-class dream. Best
friend Mitch, played by Ryan Reyn-
olds ("Green Lantern"), is a playboy
man-child - a mostly unemployed
actor in commercials and soft-core
pornography. After a night of drink-
ing, the two get to talking about
their lives, each expressing envy at
the other's situation. Then, while
peeing into a fountain, the two say
in unison "I wish I had your life,"
magically transporting their souls
into each other's body.
All sorts of high jinks ensue,
the details of which are trivial and
would be even more dull, a seem-
ingly impossible feat, in print than
on the screen. Eventually they each
discover that (spoiler alert!) maybe
their lives aren't so bad after all,

4

COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL

"Don't tell me what to do, devil baby!"

and mayl
fromspe
er's shoe

Fe
m

be you can learn something minutes than the movie needs to
nding alittle time in anoth- convey its "story" and tell all of its
S. jokes, the grand majority of which
are scatological, racist or penile in
nature while others involve vio-
lence toward or by infants and are
ces do not a ...notfunny.
"The Change-Up," instead of tell-
lovie m ake. ing a story, seems content to stack
up an increasingly repetitive series
of convoluted plot complications,
interspersed with lifeless, pointless
s, ostensibly, the premise montages. And the film is largely
me of every body-switch- just a collection of cliches: Dave
, but the movie drags on is working on a merger at his law
asting an interminable 112 firm that he hopes will make him
This is about 109 more partner; Dave and Mitch have been

"best buds" since the third grade;
slacker Mitch has a wealthy, disap-
pointed dad (Alan Arkin, "Little
Miss Sunshine") and every sopho-
moric joke about nut sacks and
pubes sounds like something from a
bad Judd Apatow movie.
Even the roles they play have
become cliches for these actors:
Bateman, the earnest, sensible, hap-
less good guy; Reynolds, the hand-
some asshole; Mann, the bitchy,
volatile, neglected wife. But to even
call them characters is a misnomer.
These are not individuals with con-
sistent personalities, with whom
we can sympathize, just things to

throw feces at and hear vulgarity
from.
If there's one thing that can be
said about this movie, it's that it's
consistent in its tone. Every pathet-
ic attempt at pathos or real feeling
isundercutby another juvenile,vul-
gar, derivative joke and only serves
to further alienate its audience.
How this movie was ever made is
a mystery. We can only assume that
every person involved switched
bodies with a seventh grade boy,
because that is the only explanation
for the immaturity, crudeness and
complete lack of wit or insight evi-
dent in this abhorrent film.

This i
and then
ing film,
and on, l
minutes.

More fun than expected in'30 Minutes or Less'

By DAVID TAO
Daily Film Editor
It's hard to describe "30 Minutes
or Less." It's inspired by real events,
but lacks the forced "ripped-from-
the-headlines"
drama that Life- ***I':
time channel and
Dick Wolf try to 30 MinuLeS
stuff down our O. L
throats. It's kind
of a buddy movie, At Quaity16
except the bud- and Rave
dies are neitherC .b
cops nor broman- Colambia
tic Judd Apatow
or Will Ferrell-style douchebags.
It's kind of a heist movie, but it's
one of the most comically inept
heists ever put on film. Whatever it
is, the result is a delightful piece of

crowd pleasing fun.
The plot centers around Nick
(Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Net-
work"), a pizza delivery guy who
stumbles upon Dwayne (Danny
McBride, TV's "Eastbound and
Down") and Travis (Nick Sward-
son, "You Don't Mess with the
Zohan"), a pair of rednecks who're
paying Chango (Michael Pefia,
"The Lincoln Lawyer") to kill
Dwayne's dad so Dwayne can get
his million dollar inheritance.
First, they have to get Chango's
money, so they kidnap Nick, strap
a bomb vest to his chest and give
him 10 hours to get them a hundred
grand, or he explodes into itty bitty
pieces. Nick, in a fit of desperation,
calls his ex-best friend Chet (Aziz
Ansari, TV's "Parks and Recre-
ation") for assistance, and they're

off to rob a bank and avoid a fiery
end.
After earning an Oscar nomi-
nation for "The Social Network,"
Eisenberg goes back to his dorky
roots as the awkward man-boy, this
time tempered with some campy,
comical fear - fear of exploding,
fear of cops, fear of prison. It's
Ansari, however, who steals the
show with his hilariously frantic,
nasally expressions of shock, his
ridiculous suggestions delivered
in perfect deadpan and his excep-
tional comedic timing. News that
Nick had sex with his twin sister
is received with comic outrage. He
consults the bomb-making experts
at Wikipedia in an attempt to
defuse the bomb and, when all else
fails, suggests that Nick cut off his
arms and wiggle out. And his little

song-and-dance number before injecting short bursts of suspense
the robbery will have audiences in to keep the audience on its toes.
stitches. Fleischer has little to no eye for
action - the film's car chases seem
static, crashes are surprisingly dull
and explosions look cheap - but
Jesse and Aziz these moments are mercifullyshort
comedy kings. and easilyforgotten.
C~me y ingS* It's McBride and his hillbilly
shtick that really drag down the
film. The script doesn't give him
or Swardson much to do beyond
Director Ruben Fleischer ("Zom- sit around and act like rednecks,
bieland") shapes all this into a lean, and to their credit, they do this
fast-paced movie that effectively relatively well. But uneducated-
guides its audience through its and-proud-of-it, borderline rac-
bizarre, the-writers-were-super- ist rednecks are nobody's favorite
high premise. Though the movie kind of people, and the joke gets
lacks some of the "Zombieland" stale very, very fast. Fortunately,
visual pizazz, Fleischer neverthe- it's not enough to torpedo the film,
less manages to maintain a comic which remains one of the best feel-
atmosphere throughout the film, good movies of the summer.

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