Editor's Note: Ad Fidelity is a new movie review feature that compares the core elements of a movie's marketing campaign with the reality of what's on screen. The purpose is to show whether or not a movie lives up to the promises of its advertising and to shed light on a movie's potential long-term playability.
Universal Pictures' marketing campaign for The Change Up has highlighted body switch gags, the two lead actors' comedic chops and the ribald, R-rated humor from the writers and director. Here's how it stacks up against those expectations:
Marketing:The Change-Up is all about the riotous gags. The story specifics aren't as important, so no need to show Ryan Reynolds' motivation to make the switch. Reality: While The Change-Up does take some time to meekly establish why Reynolds' ladies man would want to switch bodies with Bateman's family man, the "why's" aren't terribly important. The Change-Up does get more serious in the last half-hour or so, but, on the whole, the movie definitely prioritizes laughs over story. Marketing: Sure, you've seen body switch comedies before, but you've never seen one that switches Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. Reality: The movie is correctly branded as the Reynolds and Bateman show, and a big part of the fun is watching the two actors try to play each other throughout the majority of the movie. One or both of them is in nearly every scene, and they do the most they can with the material. Marketing: The writers of The Hangover and the director of Wedding Crashers deliver a ribald, very-R-rated comedy that lives up to their best-known previous work. Reality: On the surface, the marketing is fairly accurate here. The Change-Up features the sort of over-the-top comedy that partly drove The Hangover's success. A handful of scenes, including an early diaper change and a surprising movie set, are so outrageous that they might be discussed well after the movie has ended. Also, The Change-Up's focus on two lead male characters placed in uncomfortable situations is often reminiscent of Wedding Crashers. This, however, is setting expectations too high: in this reporter's opinion, at least, The Change-Up is neither as original nor as well-executed as those aforementioned movies, which should leave some viewers a tad disappointed. Box Office Impact:The Change-Up doesn't reach the levels of The Hangover or Wedding Crashers, but the charismatic leads provide enough laughs that it should hold on at a fairly average rate for its genre.
Screened at the Arclight Hollywood on Monday, August 1 in front of an engaged crowd that laughed throughout the movie, though it was more muted in the second half.