— Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds arrive in summer movie theatres this week in “The Change-Up,” a comedy in which the duo switches bodies. The family man and the partying bachelor start the film out envying each other, but soon find out that the grass isn’t always greener in the neighbor’s yard.
That premise might sound familiar. After all, the concept has its own Wikipedia page, and "The Change-Up" has inspired this viral video comparing it to other body-swap movies.
Take a look at the most prominent examples in the genre:
Similarities: Originally released in 1976 and remade in 2003, this is the film that widely gets the credit for popularizing the body swap. A mother and her daughter wind up switching bodies and living each other’s lives briefly, learning to appreciate what the other is going through while ultimately wishing to return to their previous life. Special mention goes to the 2003 version, which forces Lindsay Lohan to try and act like an adult. Insert your own joke here.
Differences: Involves women, not men, and crosses generations. As other films would do (see "Big," "13 Going on 30,"), but "Freaky Friday" came first.
'All of Me'
Similarities: Another classic body swap comedy, where Steve Martin inadvertently winds up sharing his body briefly with Lily Tomlin. It’s a soul swap gone awry, and hilarity ensures. That’s thanks mostly to the skill of the legendary comedians who star, since the plot itself has … well, best not to think about it too critically.
Differences: The characters in “All of Me” inhabit the same body, while “The Change-Up” characters do a switch.
'Big' and '13 Going on 30'
Similarities: Both these movies feature protagonists who dream of leading a different kind of life, only to find the growth process isn’t quite what they expected. After a brief flurry of excitement at their new powers, they wind up regretting their premature maturity and strive to get back to where they were.
Differences: In both, the protagonist is a child becoming a grown-up. While one of “The Change-Up” characters here may act like a child at times, they’re both adults, so any immaturity has no excuse.
Similarities: John Travolta’s character is trying to solve … well, the plot’s not really that important, and if you think about it too hard it starts making no sense at all. The point is that he winds up with Nicholas Cage’s face, and the criminal Cage gets Travolta’s. Before it’s over, each spends time living each other’s lives before Travolta finally breaks out of jail and sets things right.
Differences: First, this isn’t really a comedy, except the unintentional kind that results from trying to figure out the plot logistics. More importantly, there’s nothing magical about the transformation. It’s a surgical procedure that essentially slices their faces off and transplants them on each other. Ultimately, the problems that Travolta and Cage take on here make the Reynolds-Bateman situation seem frivolous and narcissistic in comparison.