While Dave (Bateman) has become a successful lawyer, complete with gorgeous wife Jamie (Mann) and three kids, his childhood friend Mitch (Reynolds) is living like a slacker with a string of random women. One night they wish they had each other's life and the next morning they wake up in each other's skin.
Of course, after the initial wackiness, Mitch is going to have to learn how to take Dave's responsibilities seriously, while Dave will need to discover how to relax and live a little. But how can they return to their own bodies?
After opening with an outrageously gag-inducing gross-out scene, the film slips quickly into gently goofy slapstick for most of its running time. The filmmakers hint that they might push some boundaries and stretch the characters, but they never actually take things in a challenging direction.
Instead, they merely coast along on the charm of their cast members and the undemanding nature of their target audience.
Strangely, Mitch is such an annoying idiot that we can't understand why Dave is his friend. And Reynolds plays him like a broad cartoon character, so we're actually relieved when they switch bodies: Bateman's everyman charm gives Mitch the humanity he lacked, while Reynolds brings some sex-appeal to the too-focussed family man. Meanwhile, both develop strong chemistry with Mann and Wilde (as Dave's hot colleague and perhaps the film's most complex character), but the script doesn't demand anything more of the actors.
While some of the dialog is sharp and silly, director Dobkin overplays everything in an attempt to punch the humour, and as a result it's never much more than mildly amusing beyond the constant string of vulgar jokes. So it feels like a letdown when the film veers suddenly into sweet sentimentality just when it needs to ramp up the comical stakes. And even though it's enjoyably watchable, the preachy final act feels like it was pasted on from another movie altogether.
Run time: 112 mins
In Theaters: Friday 5th August 2011
Box Office USA: $37.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $75.5M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Original Film, Big Kid Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 37 Rotten: 110
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: David Dobkin
Producer: David Dobkin, Neal H Moritz
Starring: Olivia Wilde as Sabrina McArdle, Ryan Reynolds as Mitch Planko, Jason Bateman as Dave Lockwood, Leslie Mann as Jamie Lockwood, Mircea Monroe as Tatiana, Alan Arkin as Mitch's Dad, TJ Hassan as Kinkabe Lawyer, Mircea Monroe as Tatiana, Gregory Itzin as Flemming Steel, Ned Schmidtke as Ted Norton, Ming Lo as Ken Kinkabe, Sydney Rouviere as Cara Lockwood, Craig Bierko as Valtan, Dax Griffin as Blow-Dried Goon, Andrea Moore as Sophia, Matt Cornwell as Parks Foreman, Taaffe O'Connell as Mona