We haven’t recommended a summer movie, and “The Change Up” starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds isn’t going to be the first. We are going to discuss it though. The movie opens this weekend, and we have a particular problem with the way “The Change Up” is being promoted. It’s an identity-switch movie, a plot device that has been used way too many times. The stars of “The Change Up” are aware of this, and they understand people’s skepticism about enduring another rendition of an identity switch film. So they’re selling it as the first identity-switch movie that’s R-rated.
“Body switching is a pretty stupid fucking idea, but the movie’s funny if they go they’ll laugh their dick off,” says Reynolds during a promo cut for the film.
Bateman is more blunt on this clip from the Daily Show. “While it is a tired, or some would say pleasantly familiar premise…We do it the R-rated version,” he said, and referenced some other well-known body-switch movies that were more family friendly than this one.
But here’s the thing: in 1997, a body-switch — or more accurately, a face-switch — movie came out that was both R-rated and hilarious. It’s called “Face/Off” and stars Nic Cage and John Travolta, two of the best over-actors of this generation. And it’s undoubtedly the funniest R-rated “switch” movie ever made. It predates “The Change Up” by 14 years. You might argue “Face/Off” is a drama, which involves a master criminal and an FBI agent switching identities. But we’d argue it’s a comedy movie played straight, full of cheesy, over-dramatic action sequences, and some of the best facial expressions Nic Cage can muster. For example:
[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXeK_AOL-TQ&feature’]We haven’t seen “The Change Up,” but if you’re interested in seeing a funny identity-switch movie, don’t spent $11 at the theater this weekend. Just check out “Face Off” and enjoy the laughs.