Dave (Jason Bateman) is an up-and-coming lawyer with a young family. Mitch (Ryan Reynolds), his best friend from childhood, is a foul-mouthed promiscuous slacker.. Following a night out, they are remarking how they each envy the other's lifestyle: they are doing this while urinating into a fountain, which turns out to be a magic fountain because, come the next morning, they wake up in each other's bodies. Shenanigans ensue.
Before seeing a movie at the cinema, I tend to read reviews from two sources: one is a daily paper where the reviewer is middle aged and right wing, the other is a magazine where the reviewers are young and left wing. They usually disagree. If they agree, then the consensus is usually dependable. They agreed that The Change-Up was not very good, so I went in expecting something less than wonderful.
I was also aware that this movie contained a more than moderate amount of bad language, poo jokes and raunch. I have frequently been critical of films which put this stuff in just for the sake of it: I like lowest common denominator stuff to have some point, wit, or at least be funny, and it so frequently is not.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating or, in this case, the audience reaction. In a not-very-full cinema, the audience (including me) laughed out loud, frequently, all the way through this film - much of it is genuinely funny. It helps that you like both Dave and Mitch, irrespective of whether they are being played by Reynolds or Bateman (and you can tell that both actors are having a ball playing both characters, especially Bateman who is playing more against type than Reynolds).
A word about Leslie Mann, playing Dave's wife Jamie. Having spent much of her career playing in a series of films produced by husband Judd Apatow, she has reached the age of nearly 40 mostly without removing her clothing. She breaks that tradition, spectacularly, in this movie, and does so as the feed for a gag (sadly, spoilered in the trailer) which works beautifully, and all the better for her topless lead in to it.*
Please understand that this film is crass, tasteless, rude, and near the knuckle in many respects, and it won't be to everyone's tastes. But it made me laugh out loud on a number of occasions.
*and, if it is true that the boobs in question were prosthetic then a) how sneaky is that, and b) they were pretty convincing (he said, as someone who has devoted the best part of half a century to studying such things - I didn't really get started until I was over 10).