This year has already seen several comedies marketed to men in which belabored husbands get to take a break from marriage. You had Hall Pass early in the year, wherein Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis‘ wives gave them carte blanche for a whole week. Today’s big release is The Change-Up, in which Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman switch bodies. Not surprisingly, Reynolds gets the short end of the stick, while Bateman gets to run around as a hot single guy, and catch the attention of his crush Olivia Wilde.
However, both of these movies have one very important thing in common: The guy who’s all talk but never follows through. We’d go so far as to say he’s neutered… and the producers seem to be banking on him as the female moviegoers’ ultimate fantasy.
In Hall Pass, Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) are psyched that they have a week of consequence-free partying, drug use, and casual sex. But even after Rick manages to meet a hot girl and get alone in a hotel room with her — and her promising it’ll be a one-time thing, no expectations — he can’t bring himself to cheat on his wife. He lost his virginity to her, and he’s only ever been with her. Even on this “vacation” from marriage, it wouldn’t feel right to sleep with someone else.
But just to get the R-rating, the producers made sure that someone in the movie got lucky. The cheating is saved for the weird, comic-relief secondary couple, Sudeikis and Christina Applegate.
The Change-Up is a similar deal, only even more hard-core. (Cover your eyes if you don’t want to read spoilers.) Bateman plays Dave, an overworked lawyer; he and his wife are so busy with their newborn twins that they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in love. Reynolds’ character Mitch is a sharp 180: An unemployed stoner who makes attempts at an acting career but basically sits around playing Call of Duty and masturbating all day. Let me say, both actors do a fantastic job playing each other’s roles: Reynolds suffering his way through an awful soft-core porn scene is great, and Bateman really does a layered job of playing a slacker stumbling through the corporate world.