A Party-Crasher's Guide to ‘The Change-Up’

“Wedding Crashers” director David Dobkins revives a tired plot line well worth the ticket

Have you ever wanted to crash a party? I did.

When I lived in New York as a freelance journalist, I formed a friendship with a lady paparazzo who was a pro at crashing events. She had to gain entrance to these events for her work and invited me as her sidekick on many of these adventures.

She had a tip sheet from publicists telling her where the parties were and which stars were attending. She would trade this information with her dentist for free dental care. Few could stop her — she knew the back entrances to the Waldorf and the Plaza, and how to stare down any bouncer and name-drop accordingly.

At one event I met Brooke Astor, and asked her if she would grant me an interview, to which she agreed. Afterwards, I asked her whom, if anyone, she would like to meet.

“Why, Jesse Jackson about literacy,” she said.  

So with my paparazza’s tip sheet I was able to find a party Jesse Jackson was attending. I introduced myself and flashed my credentials from various publications and voila! Jackson said he would grant me an interview and was delighted to have the opportunity to talk with Brooke Astor. And so the three way interview about anything was arranged in her Park Avenue office. I also brought along a photographer.

So I laughed — perhaps the loudest — when David Dobkin glorified party-crashing in "Wedding Crashers" — which I have seen too many times to count.

There is a skill to it. And now David Dobkin does it again. 

"The Change-Up" is a winner. With writing by "Hangover" writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, Dobkin’s direction features controversy and dialogue that sticks it to white bread conservatives in a way that will leave you doubled over in laughter.

Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman switch identities while pissing in an enchanted fountain during a drunken night, and wishing they had the other one's life. They wake up in each others’ bodies — not a new plot idea — but the interaction that ensues is worth the ticket to see this film.

Dave (Jason Bateman) is a successful lawyer and father of two toddlers who have issues with where to relieve their bowels. Gross as it sounds, it opens the film with a bang and is an indication of the outrageous mayhem that will follow. Mitch is married to the beautiful and wacky Jamie (Leslie Mann) who can play comedy like no other housewife. She hits it out of the park in a portrait of a woman ignored by her husband due to his drive to succeed in suburbia and with his obsession to 'keep up with the Jones'.' 

Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) whose “accomplishments could rest on an eyelash” envies Dave.

Mitch is living the life as an actor in skinamax–porn in which the male actor leaves his clothing on. He explains his concept of commitment. “I dated a girl a month for a full semester,” he says. “The only dancing I do is with women who dance with poles and have Daddy issues."

Alan Arkin, who plays Mitch’s father, gives his usual quality performance.

Dave asks Mitch, “I can’t sleep with my wife. I can’t sleep with other women. What the heck is this?”

“Marriage,” Mitch replies. 

Dave has to maintain Mitch’s bachelor life which is resplendent with women. When Dave asks who these women are, Mitch replies, “Tatiana calls at 3AM and wants to fuck. Who cares what her name is?”

When a stunning Tatiana (Mircea Monroe), whom Mitch hung out at a doctor’s office for three months to meet does show up at 3 AM, she is nine months pregnant. Dave is horrified. Tatiana replies, “I’ll be better in a month after I fuck you now. What don’t you like? Is it my hair cut?”

A befuddled Dave begins to like Mitch’s life when Mitch arranges a date for Dave with his gorgeous secretary. Sabrina (Olivia Wilde) plays the hot-to-trot non-stereotypical secretary performance to the perfect T.

Situations abound that are filled with laughs. See this film and enjoy the chaos and despair that can follow when envying another’s life. Envy is for losers. "The Change Up" is for winners.