"The Change Up" opens in theaters today. The premise of the movie is that Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman pee in a fountain and switch bodies. Now they have to live each other’s lives.
Ahh, the old body swapping genre. Not to be confused with the very similar genre of strangers-who-are-nearly-identical-and-swap-lives-temporarily (You know, such film gems like "The Prince and the Pauper," "Model Behavior," "It Takes Two," and "Monte Carlo,").
The true Body Switch/Body Swapping genre always starts out when something unusual happens to the two leads, one says something offhand like "I wish I had your life" and because everyone vaguely believes in magic the next morning the two stars wake up to find they've become the other person! Also, body swap movies always end with some kind of moral about appreciating your life.
The body swap theme has seen many incarnations, but Ryan Reynolds tells Hollyscoop "The Change Up" is not like any of the others you've seen, "The only reason to do something like that is to put a new spin on it. What this one has here is a hard "R" in front of this thing, it's the way it always should have been made," says Reynolds.
Let's take a look at my top 5 body swapping movies over the years.
Freaky Friday: There are three different versions of Freaky Friday, but I'm going to focus on the Lindsay Lohan version. Why? Because why the hell not. Lindsay Lohan plays a teen with a lot of angst and Jamie Lee Curtis plays her mother and these two don't get along! They get in an argument, eat a bewitched fortune cookie, there is an earthquake and the next morning they wake up in each others bodies. Because this is a Disney film, by switching bodies they realize it ain't easy being the other person and they switch back during another earthquake and stop fighting forever because they've walked "in another's shoes" Awwww.
The Hot Chick: The Hot Chick is a movie where Rob Schneider switches bodies with Rachel McAdams after they wear the same enchanted earring. Yes this is a real movie that people paid to make. Still listening? Good. Basically McAdams is a hot and mean high school girl and Schneider is a small-time criminal, now that they've switched lives it sucks for McAdams because "like will she ever be popular again?" They finally switch back at the end of the film when everyone is at the prom, because it is a requirement that all shitty movies end at the prom.
Wish Upon a Star: Wish Upon a Star is a TV movie starring a young Katherine Heigl as a popular fashionable girl and her less popular more intelligent younger sister. Well, one day the younger sister wishes on a star that she could trade lives with her sister and no surprise here, it happens. After they live in each others lives and make out with each others boyfriends, they switch back to their real lives and the younger sister learns that being popular isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Prelude To A Kiss: Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan play lovers about to be married when an old dying man jokingly kisses Meg Ryan at the wedding altar. Because the stars were aligned or some other kind of bullsh-t, the old man and Meg Ryan switch bodies. Baldwin doesn't know this happens and is wondering why his new wife is suddenly into prune juice and backgammon. Anyways, they swap back when Baldwin kisses the old guy with Meg Ryans soul inside.
17 Again: In this movie Matthew Perry plays a 37-year-old man who has made some mistakes in life and after a mysterious encounter with a janitor at his old highscool, his mind is transported into the body of a 17-year-old. Zac Efron plays the younger version of Matthew Perry and although this is not a true "body swap" film it still fills all the criteria of magic, switching, and then appreciating your life. Awwww.