“You ready to take a piss?”
Because after a night of booze-soaked bromance, two friends Dave Lockwood  (Jason Bateman) and Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds), do so into a public (and, of course, magic) fountain and we get this generation’s Vice Versa.  Or its potty-mouthed little brother.  Audiences should know what they are getting into, as The Change-Up is helmed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) and written by the scribes of The Hangover, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.
As with other modern day comedies, such as Bridesmaids, The Change-Up follows an anything for a laugh credo.  The cringe-inducing moments are frequent and funny, leaving no sacred cow untipped.  One might be reminded of any episode The Family Guy when the story gets interrupted for them to do some sort of sight gag.  It may have nothing to do with anything germane to the plot, not springing naturally from the story or set up, but just simply be a “and now a(n insert body fluid of choice) joke” moment.
“I don’t know how to do all of your grown up crap.” –Mitch
The set-up is as familiar as the casting.  Dave struggles to raise three kids, attend to his underappreciated and under loved wife Jamie (Leslie Mann), and pursue partnership in his law firm.  His best friend, Mitch, smokes pot between auditions for “lornos” (that’s “light pornos”), and has no interest in a committed relationship (other than disappointing his father (Alan Arkin)).  So there’s an overzealous, over scheduled go-getter who remains so busy that he misses most of his life and a quitter who never finishes anything … there are probably life lessons to be learned in this movie.
One may have trouble seeing why Dave and Mitch are friends in the first place, long history together (BFFs since third grade) notwithstanding.  If Dave is such a dedicated corporate climber, he’d have ditched Mitch long ago.  Not to mention the fact that Bateman is, and looks, seven years older.  Once that is overlooked, Reynolds and Bateman tend to work the same side of the street when it comes to their comedy styles, so neither exactly gets a tour-de-force romp.  At best, we get Bateman, usually cast as the straight man, playing mildly against type during some of his rants and Reynolds staying close to home being smart yet sensitive.
“I missed all the sex, drugs, and bad choices.” –Dave
Women in this movie exist to pretty much show their boobs.  Mann doesn’t come across too different from when she was in Knocked up and isn’t given a lot more to do besides mope around as dissatisfied and be a boob prop.  Olivia Wilde (also in the current Cowboys & Aliens), as Sabrina McArdle, seems too good to be true:  a hot legal assistant who loves sports, regrettable decisions, and sex at the drop of a hat.  Who shows her boobs.
“He was always looking over the fence, looking for a better life.” –Jamey
We know that the movie builds to the point that our own, real lives are ultimately better, but it taps into the longing present in many people’s hearts.  The quiet desperation many feel, leading empty lives, and looking over the fences of other people’s lives to check the greenness of the grass over there.  The desperation points to a hole within us, a hole we want to fill by any means necessary, be it poor choices in relationship partners, drugs, false ways of seeing ourselves, a cycle of materialism and desire and want, neglecting those around them, not knowing how to be whole … not knowing if we are running away from something or toward something else. Or, as Jamey puts it, “he can’t turn it off.  He still wants more.”
“We weren’t put on this earth to work, breed, and die.” –Olivia Wilde
Like the magic fountain, the Gospel is an opportunity to examine the way you’ve been living. You don’t have to pursue empty goals of materialism and consumerism. That God is at work in every moment in every square inch of the cosmos. We were created in His image and our lives are gifts. We can be about reconciliation, between God and humanity, each of us to one another, and humanity to creation. We can be about the pursuit of justice. We can be about freedom, since we have been freed from the chains of sin and death. Kingdom living begins now. We live in light of the Gospel message. The call is for us to respond to the news because each of us has a role to play, even in the seeming ordinariness of our lives.
“You respect my art, you respect my life.” –Mitch
The Change-Up wrings every possible joke from the setup before pouring on its “lessons”.  What little emotional pay off is there feels muddled at best coming on the heels of humor rooted, for example, in a CGI sequence of babies playing with sharp objects and banging themselves in the head.  The best of the body swapping subgenre, from Big to All of Me to Freaky Friday, offer commentary on their social situations along with humor.  The Change-Up passes up such opportunity for depth, which is fine as long as it delivers consistent laughs.
For some, seeing one of the leading men getting hit in the face with projectile poop while changing his kid’s diaper may seem needlessly crass.  And while there may be plenty of room for such “humor judgment”, I can’t say I didn’t laugh.  But that is The Change-Up in microcosm:  a flexing baby anus spraying onto the audience.  So your mileage may vary.