In this so-so comedy, already nicknamed “Freaky Friday with dudes,” Jason Bateman plays Dave Lockwood, over-worked lawyer/family man and Ryan Reynolds plays his childhood pal Mitch Planko, unemployed actor/ladies man. Throw in a drunken night, a magical water fountain that our heroes pee in (ah, the charms of the modern-day fairy tale), and, presto-chango, they swap lives.
Most of the laughs here come from the Mitch-as-Dave side of the equation. In one politically incorrect scene, Mitch essentially demonstrates how not to feed a pair of twin one-year-olds (sharp knives and electric sockets are involved). It will play well to the Go the F**k to Sleep crowd.
Another scene, where Mitch thinks Dave’s hot wife (Leslie Mann, quite amusing here) is disrobing for sexytimes, when in fact, she’s about to go to the bathroom in front of him (egad!), is a clever commentary on the sometimes neutered state of the modern marriage.
But the scenes of Dave-as-Mitch embracing the single life don’t play as well, partly because the film is so intent on reassuring us that Dave’s a stand-up guy, they don’t really let him enjoy his vacation in Ryan Reynolds’ body. (And really, what guy wouldn’t want to try on those abs for size, even if only for a week or so?). In one scene, Dave is shown in the park happily reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. (Just go nuts with yourself there, buddy). In another, Dave finally meets Mitch’s much ballyhooed sex partner Tatiana, but instead of succumbing to temptation, he’s provided an easy (and truly bizarre) escape route.
It would’ve helped if Bateman and Reynolds had even bothered to attempt impressions of each other (heck, even Zac Efron did his best Matthew Perry for 17 Again). It’s not like they don’t both have dependable shtick: Reynolds could’ve affected Bateman’s pinched fretfulness and Bateman could’ve affected Reynolds’ smirky self-adoration.
But alas, both the actors—and the film itself—seem a bit too lazy for that.