The Change-Up

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Change-Up Movie Poster Image
Overly crude body-swapping comedy isn't for kids.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Hidden beneath all of the crude comedy is the message that if you take a hard look at your life, you'll see areas that need improvement and should take the opportunity to better yourself and love your family and friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dave is hardworking, but he takes his life for granted -- especially his wife. He also envies his single and responsibility-free friend too much. Mitch isn't a role model at all except for the fact that he can somehow remember details about Dave's life that even his best friend can't recall.


Some slapstick scenes involving Dave/Mitch and twin babies. When Mitch is stuck in Dave's body, the twins end up wielding a knife, almost sticking their hand in a blender, etc. Mitch also encourages Dave's young daughter to "solve all your problems through violence," so she hits her ballet bully. Pregnant Tatiana gets very angry at Mitch and pushes him on his back and threatens him. The guys have to run away from mall security when they pee in a public fountain.


Nudity in several scenes, including a graphic soft-porn movie shoot and a sexual proposition from a woman in late-term pregnancy (viewers see her nearly full frontal, and the baby visibly moves her third-trimester belly). Dave masturbates while in Mitch's body, and both men seem fascinated with the quirks of each other's bodies (Dave has an extra testicle). While in Dave's body, Mitch sees his wife nursing her baby and, later, undressing and then sitting on the toilet while wearing an open robe that shows her breasts. Another woman strips down to her thong and bra and climbs on top of Mitch, but they don't have sex. Candid, potentially vulgar conversations about sex, adultery, sexual positions (they all have humorous names), and experience.


The first word Dave utters is "f--k," and that sets the tone of the movie. There's not a sentence of dialogue that doesn't include a curse word; even conversations with children include questionable language. In addition to the countless F-bombs, there's "s--t," "a--hole," "p---y," "bitch," "d--k," "whore," "t-ts," "balls," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," and more.


Product placements aren't distracting, but the guys spend a good deal of time in Dave's Range Rover and Mitch's Fiero.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mitch is an avowed pot-head, so bongs, joints, and other marijuana paraphernalia are shown regularly. Mitch even smokes a joint while driving. The guys also get drunk more than once -- doing shots -- and there's drinking during a few dinner party and date scenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this raunchy body-swapping comedy is more like The Hangover than Freaky Friday. From the opening F-bomb to the end credits, the movie is chock full of language ("f--k" is said in nearly every scene), sexuality (nudity includes breasts, a soft porn movie set, and a fully naked, very pregnant woman), and crass toilet humor. Plus, the movie's themes are actually pretty mature, revolving around two best friends who couldn't be less like each other but secretly envy each other's life. Because it stars two of the funniest actors in Hollywood (Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds), parents should expect even young teens to be interested, but this movie is definitely a "hard-R" for a reason.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMIW August 25, 2020

Sexual exploitation of children

In the first five minutes of this film both a male and a female babys' genitals were shown in closeups. Both children's legs were up in the air. I fou... Continue reading
Adult Written byTimtothebrim September 18, 2020

Creators should be jailed

Shows close up of two babies genitals right off the bat -
No matter the light they try and put this in it isn’t right.. I can’t imagine how this didn’t get more... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bybiovox14 October 6, 2017

Incredibly crude, but sweet.

So this movie was incredibly crude, but on the same token, had a lot of decent points about family, friends, love, and life in general. However, there is LOADS... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byzacpb19 August 17, 2012

good comedy for 17+

This is a very smart and funny movie but i have to make this point, just cause a films a 15 doasn't mean 15 year olds should watch it, but I would say that... Continue reading

What's the story?

Dave (Jason Bateman) and Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) have been best friends since elementary school, but they couldn't be less alike -- Dave's the father of three and on the brink of becoming a partner at a powerful Atlanta law firm, while Mitch is content to smoke marijuana and juggle a calendar full of low-rent acting gigs and a variety of sexual partners. After getting drunk together at a bar one night, the two men simultaneously pee in a public fountain together while saying "I wish I had your life." The next morning, Mitch wakes up in Dave's body and vice-versa, but when they drive back to the magical fountain, they discover that it's been moved into the bureaucratic mire of the Atlanta Parks Department. Until they can locate the fountain, Mitch has to be pretend to be a successful attorney and devoted father, and Dave has to be a slacker actor with a busy hook-up schedule.

Is it any good?

Bateman and Reynolds are undeniably funny, and it's easy to see why this movie would have been easy for the filmmakers to pitch -- great cast, tried-and-true plot device, and tons of hard-R humor. But despite the actors' talent and some big laughs that parents, especially, will appreciate, there's a fine line between raunchy and tasteless, and the plot veers into cringe-worthy toilet humor one too many times to stay consistently amusing.


Casting Reynolds as a hard-core womanizer and Bateman as the straight-edge family man is cliché, and it's clear that each could have played the other's original part with ease. That would have been a welcome switch, as Reynolds has heart and Bateman has edge, which they clearly prove in the moments that they're "themselves" in the other's body. While there's a somewhat touching message about self-reflection and appreciating what you have, the story gets bogged down in the formulaic gross-out humor. Reynolds' Mitch is too pathetically one-dimensional to even believe, and it's hard to feel sorry for Dave when he has an amazing job, a gorgeous wife (Leslie Mann), and a million-dollar mansion. That said, if you're in the mood for some blue comedy, you'll definitely get a kick out of Craig Bierko's hilarious cameo as a soft-porn director. Now there's an actor who deserves a leading comedy role.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays sexuality. Which relationships are healthy, and which are unhealthy? How can you tell?

  • What about drinking and drug use? Are they shown realistically? What are some of the real-life consequences of getting drunk and smoking pot?

  • Dave envies Mitch's carefree life, but is Mitch as fulfilled as Dave? Is freedom from responsibility still as attractive in someone in their late 30s as it is in someone in their 20s? Why is growing up and starting a family depicted as boring?

Movie details

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