Friday, August 5, 2011
I try to go into every movie as neutral as I can, giving each one the chance they deserve. But this was kind of a tough one. How many times have we seen two people change bodies? Let's see, to the best of my recall there was Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris in 'Freaky Friday' (1976), Kirk Cameron and Dudley Moore in 'Like Father, Like Son' (1987), Fred Savage and Judge Reinhold in 'Vice Versa' (1988), Charlie Schlatter and George Burns in '18 Again' (1988), Tom Hanks in 'Big' (1988) (Ok, I do realize he doesn't actually switch places with someone else, but he becomes a kid and that's close enough), Rob Schneider and Rachel McAdams in 'The Hot Chick' (2002), Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis in a remake of 'Freaky Friday' (2003), Jennifer Garner in '13 Going on 30' (2004), and Zac Efron and Matthew Perry in '17 Again' (2009). Whew! Did I miss any? I'm sure I missed several.
OK, so having seen most of those movies, it's an understatement to say I really didn't need to see this story again, ever, and I really wish overpaid Hollywood screenwriters would actually write something new for a change. Nevertheless, I was actually pleasantly surprised. The story is exactly what you expect, but the film has two things going for it. First, the leads played by Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds are excellent. Both of these are in danger of overexposure these days, but they really have great chemistry together. In fact, I'd like to see them team up again in future films. Their dry senses of humor mesh well together. And second, this movie is really, really crass and I didn't expect that. Of course that might turn some people off, but I respect that they totally went for it, uncaring of who they may offend with extreme foul language, nudity, and sexual situations. In fact, it's a bit extreme, but that's what separates it from the pack and since I was expecting a family film it threw me for a loop and I do like to be surprised. I do wish it was a bit funnier though and not just out for shock value. But I was entertained and had a smile on my face throughout even though I wasn't laughing consistently.
So I'm comfortable giving this one a mild recommendation, despite the fact that I really don't want to see another 'body swap' film again. Can you imagine 'F'd Up Friday' starring Ice Cube and Betty White? Or how about Elle Fanning and a CGI version of George Burns in '13 Going on 115 with Gender Reassignment'? Or, if both this and the 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' do well this weekend, might we be seeing 'Like Human, Like Ape' next summer? Things that make you go hmmm...