The first five minutes of The Change-Up—a horrifying look into the world of late-night baby care complete with one of the more grotesque poop-to-face shots ever captured on film—sums up the movie's bait-and-switch. In most comedies this scene would be the first step towards a descent into hell that only Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Adam Sandler are capable of realizing. In The Change-Up it's a sequence that sets the bar as low as artistically possible so stars Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds can obliterate expectations with equally raunchy shocking and hilarious comedic stylings. Simply put The Change-Up is the funniest movie of the year.
Bateman plays Dave Lockwood a run-of-the-mill lawyer who works too hard juggles his parenting duties and struggles to find time to tell his wife he loves her. Dave's best friend Mitch (Reynolds) couldn't be more of the opposite—sleeping all day and spending his conscious hours wooing sexual partners while stoned out of his mind. The two are polar opposites making them the perfect candidates for a little bit of switcheroo magic. One particularly devastating night of alcohol and lamenting life's woes ends with the duo taking a leak into a magical fountain (go with it). Fate of course intervenes and when Dave and Mitch wake up they find themselves trapped in the one another's bodies.
There's no denying The Change-Up follows the Freaky Friday formula—but that's not a fault. The logic is already established giving Bateman Reynolds and director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) freedom to jump right into the crass humor hook. Bateman who's becoming a go-to straight man in Hollywood finds a refreshing opportunity in inhabiting Reynold's Mitch. The character's lack of self-censorship opens the floodgates for Bateman to poetically surface some of the English language's more horrendous sentences. A slang dictionary may be required to understand what bizarre body part synonyms are being dropped at rapid pace in this movie. Whether you comprehended them or not when they come out of Bateman's mouth they're priceless.
Same goes for Reynolds who escapes the box of fast-talking womanizer to play the uncomfortable family man. Judging an actor's versatility on a scene in which he's unwillingly placed at the center of a "lorno" (read: low-budget soft core pornography) may seem twisted but Reynolds sells it and makes it perfectly agonizing. Even obvious scenarios like "uh oh Dave's going to have to cheat on his wife in Mitch's body!" are twisted once twice three times over to pull the rug from under you.
The biggest surprise of The Change-Up is the movie's heart. Pummeling an audience with jokes is one thing but to sell genuine relationships underneath it makes it satisfying. The wavering friendship between the two lead knuckleheads is tangible and keeps an impossible plot device grounded while Leslie Mann (Knocked Up Funny People) as Dave's wife Jamie has her fair share of tender moments (as well as devilish laughs—there's a reason her husband Judd Apatow keeps casting her). In a movie that's constructed by textbook rules to have an ending that resonates with any sort of emotion is as surprising as watching a grown man toss a baby down next to a set of steak knives. Which coincidentally also happens in the movie.
In today's world where anything goes it's hard to whip up slapstick and one-liners that feel edgy and that leave your jaw on the floor. That's how The Change-Up hits—and it hits hard.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
The uber-anticipated sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen picks up shortly after the events of the blockbuster first film. With evil Megatron’s carcass buried at the bottom of the ocean Optimus Prime and his Autobot comrades working together with an elite group of human soldiers are now focused on hunting the remaining Decepticons scattered across the globe. Sam Witwicky hero of the 2007 movie is busy preparing for his first year at college while his unlikely girlfriend Mikaela Barnes stays behind to tend to her father’s auto-repair shop. Little do they know however that back on Cybertron a Decepticon elder known as “The Fallen” is hatching a scheme to invade Earth where hidden somewhere on the planet is the last known source of energon the life-blood of all Transformers. If he succeeds the devastation left in his wake will no doubt spell the end of the human race. With the fate of Earth hanging in the balance Sam and Mikaela must once again have to team up with Optimus and the Autobots to defeat this powerful new foe.
WHO’S IN IT?
All the major human players from the first Transformers film are back for the sequel including Shia LaBeouf Megan Fox Tyrese Gibson Josh Duhamel and John Turturro. Newcomers include Ramon Rodriguez who plays Sam’s conspiracy-obsessed college roommate Leo and The Office’s Rainn Wilson who enjoys a notable cameo as a pompous physics professor.
Of course the actors merely serve as background filler for the real stars of the show: those titular talking-alien robots. And director Michael Bay fills up the screen with enough mechanical eye candy to dazzle even the most skeptical gearhead. Returning characters include Optimus Prime Bumblebee Ratchet Ironhide Barricade Jazz (don’t act surprised) Starscream Frenzy and Megatron (again don’t act surprised).
Several new Autobots are introduced to the mix: Mudflap and Skids a pair of jive-talking ceaselessly annoying hatchbacks; Jolt a Chevy Volt; Sideswipe a silver Corvette; and Jetfire an elderly Decepticon turncoat who walks with a cane speaks with an English accent and transforms into an SR-71 Blackbird. Additions to Decepticon side include: The Fallen who we learn is the Decepticons’ real head honcho (consider him the Emperor Palpatine to Megatron’s Darth Vader); Soundwave a communications specialist who sinks his tentacles into a satellite and spies on us from above; Ravage a panther-like creature; Wheelie a radio-controlled truck who talks like Joe Pesci; “the Doctor ” a sort of mad scientist who speaks with a German accent (naturally); and the Constructicons a group of construction vehicles that fuse together to form a massive four-legged beast.
No director does over-the-top explosion-laded action better than Michael Bay and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen features several staggering set pieces. The CGI work on this film makes the last one look like it was designed on a Commodore 64.
Any scene in which people talk — and several of the ones in which robots talk too. Just as the action and visual effects are beefed up for the sequel the bad jokes and cringe-worthy dialogue are as well. Highlights include two dogs humping John Turturro in a thong a robot humping Megan Fox’s leg a sequence involving Sam’s stoned mom and a glimpse of a very large pair of testicles on one very large Decepticon. The latter will likely go down as the “nipples-on-the-Batsuit” moment for the Transformers franchise.
The show-stopping climax set in the Egyptian desert is one extended riotous battle royale packed with so much robot-on-robot action you’ll feel overwhelmed at times.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
This big-budget spectacle begs to be seen at the multiplex — IMAX if possible. Just bring a pair of earplugs for the dialogue sequences. You might want to bring some Dramamine as well as Mr. Bay went a little overboard with his trademark circling-camera sequences this time around.
Ozzy Osbourne's pink-haired, 17-year-old daughter Kelly will sing on stage for the first time at the MTV Movie Awards, The Associated Press reports. Kelly will sing her cover version of Madonna's 1986 hit "Papa Don't Preach," which she recorded with members of Incubus for The Osbourne Family Album, due out June 11. The awards show, which will be hosted by Jack Black and Sarah Michelle Gellar, will take place Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and will air on MTV June 6.
Malcolm in the Middle's Jane Kaczmarek is expecting a third child with her husband, Brad Whitford. The baby is due in November. According to the AP, the couple is expected to return to their respective television shows in the fall. Whitford plays Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman on NBC's The West Wing.
The woman who claims she was raped by Celine Dion's husband, René Angelil, was released without bail from jail after she agreed to repay more than $550,000 to a Las Vegas casino, the AP reports. Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung, a Pasadena, Calif., resident, was accused of signing four markers promising to pay the casino in a case in 2001.
DreamWorks Pictures is developing a fully animated, computer-generated feature based on writers Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff's original pitch, Master P: Kung Fu Panda. The story is about a gang of snow leopard bandits that come down from the highlands to invade a bamboo jungle in China, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Kevin Spacey is developing a remake of the Norwegian drama Elling, about two misfits who become friends after a two-year stint in a state home, Variety reports. The original film was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar this year. Spacey does not plan to star in the English-language remake.
Stephen Chiau, who starred in and directed the Asian blockbuster Shaolin Soccer, is planning an action/comedy for the international market. Chiau told Reuters in a recent interview that the film would be based on a story that happened in Hong Kong in the 1940s and '50s and that a script was in the works.
John Leguizamo will make his directorial debut with the HBO drama Infamous, about a young Latino boxer, Variety reports. Leguizamo will co-direct the film with Enrique Shadyac, as well as executive produce and star in the pic. Shooting begins in Gotham Aug. 5.
Actor/comedian Jamie Foxx will star as former Washington Mayor Marion Barry in the HBO biopic Livin' for the City: The Marion Barry Story. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pic will be executive produced by Chris Rock, who poked fun at Barry in his 1996 HBO stand-up special Bring the Pain.
Following the abrupt departure of longtime chief Michael Greene last month, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Grammys, is setting up a committee to find a new president, Variety reports. Jive Records West Coast chief Neil Portnow is rumored to be a frontrunner for the position.
California rockers Alien Ant Farm have cut short their European tour and canceled all shows in the United States through September following a bus crash last week in Spain in which their driver was killed, the AP reports. Frontman Dryden Mitchell suffered a broken vertebra in the accident, while guitarist Terry Corso broke his ankle.