Five comedy tropes that need to stop, courtesy of the Change-Up trailer

Tuesday April 26th 2011


The Change-Up is an upcoming comedy written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover) and directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus). It stars Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman as dissimilar friends who get a chance to lead each other’s lives when a magical body swap occurs. The film appears to get most of its comedy mileage from a variety of ‘while the cat’s away’ scenarios, with a few gross-out moments thrown in for good measure, so unsurprisingly it looks quite a lot like Hall Pass. Everything about it sums up what’s wrong with comedy in 2011, but here are five things in particular that badly need to be KILLED WITH FIRE…


THE FUCKING BODY SWAP CONCEIT
If there’s a movie premise more tired than the body swap then I have yet to hear it (maybe getting engaged to the wrong guy and then realising you’re actually in love with your supposedly platonic best friend, but it’s a close call). We’ve had swaps based on age (Freaky Friday), gender (It’s a Girl/Boy Thing) and even profession (Face/Off), and those are just the good entries in the genre. Then again, I will give The Change-Up props for forgoing an oh-so-hilarious scene where both guys wake up in each other’s bodies and immediately inspect the size of their penises. Or at least they haven’t put it in the trailer.


LESLIE MANN AS ‘THE WIFE’
Obviously we all like Leslie Mann, and I get that Judd Apatow thinks it’s cute to cast his wife as ‘the wife’ in all his movies, but it’s a shame that she’s become such a go-to for occasionally funny but mostly disapproving ‘other halves’ because, you know, there’s an outside chance she’s actually good at facial expressions other than this one.


LISTS OF UNLIKELY SEXUAL POSITIONS
Quick! We need to illustrate that Ryan Reynolds’ character is sexually adventurous without actually bothering to develop him beyond a lifeless archetype! Somebody load up Urban Dictionary! Never mind that the joke wears thin after the second or third jaw-drop reaction-shot of Jason Bateman, if we can name-check enough obscure, physically-impossible or completely invented sexual positions, we can finally become this generation’s Farrelly Brothers.


THE IDEA THAT POO IS FUNNY
This might not be a popular opinion, but I maintain that poo jokes are – by definition – not really that funny. Even supposed classics of the genre (the broken toilet scene in Dumb and Dumber) are a bit ropey when you actually sit down and watch them. In The Change-Up, we’re treated to the old ‘women poo too’ joke, which has somehow become even more predictable than its male counterpart. And if you think it’s lame enough now as a 12-second trailer denouement, just you wait for the hideously extended version we can expect in the final film.


ANY COMBINATION OF THE WORDS ‘MEET’ AND ‘DAVE’
We all remember what happened the first time around.