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Movie Review Monday: The Change-Up

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Mike Finkelstein woke up one morning in the body of his best friend.  Really confused, and not remembering anything that happened the night before, he decided to go see a movie that seemed to mirror his situation.  He may have not gotten any good advice to fix his issues, but here is his review for “The Change-Up”.

PLOT: Dave (Jason Bateman) and Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) are best friends with very different lives.  Dave is a prestigious lawyer and family man, and Mitch is a womanizer, slacker, and wannabe actor, who has never finished anything in his life.  After drunkenly peeing in a magical fountain (yup, that’s what happens) and wishing for each other’s lives, the two switch bodies, and have to figure out how to survive until they could find their way back.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: I’m sorry, but THE CHANGE-UP is not a good movie.  Yes, it has Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, two of the funniest comic actors today.  Yes, it has Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde, two beautiful and funny actresses.  Yes, it has a raunchy R-rating when most studios are trying to turn their R films to PG-13 for a wider audience (Weinstein Company, I’m talking to you).  But all these factors, sadly, do NOT make a good movie.

Two people with completely opposite personalities magically switch bodies, and in the process, learn something about each other and themselves.  We’ve seen it countless times before.  When you have such a familiar plot, you need to have an aspect that makes your film stand out among the rest.  THE CHANGE-UP’s aspect is raunchy humor, but it turns the dial up ad nauseum.

Everywhere you turn, you feel like you’re being slapped in the face with a sex or bathroom joke.  Mitch alone is like a walking Bob Saget DVD.  Every line out of his mouth would get him a restraining order.  He has no clue how to filter himself, and after a while, we wonder how not even Dave, but anybody could stand being around him.  How are they even friends?  This man is not an adult.  This character cannot be real.  He is a caricature of idiocy that doesn’t know how to behave in society.  When you can’t even pretend to treat your best friend’s job or wife right, and just want to “ruin” her, I don’t care if you’re the lead.  I just lost all connection to you.  Not a good way to start the film.

To add to that, there is the bonus of all the penis jokes (Mitch shaves Dave in Mitch’s body, the confusion of whose penis is whose, etc), an entire Leslie Mann scene that can only be applauded for the ridiculous range of bowel movement sounds, a nine-month pregnant woman in a trench coat, and two babies with major issues.  If you have a movie with twins, there should be a lot of funny and cute moments.  It’s the opposite, here…it’s all just wrong.  First, one kid is constantly banging his head against the side of his crib.  I mean unnaturally hard…like in a possessed-by-a-demon way.  Then, in a scene with some projectile feces (you’ve seen it in the trailer), we get an obviously fake close up of everything down there that we just don’t need.  Finally, in a kitchen scene that’s supposed to show how crazy babies could be, we go back to the possession factor as one kid yields and throws steak knives as the other messes with a blender and licks electrical outlets.  Where is all this coming from?!

Oh, and speaking of the pregnant woman, I don’t care if shock equals funny.  I don’t want to see a woman naked, nine months pregnant, and wearing stilettos while the baby is kicking.  It’s not funny.  Ever.

Forgetting the raunchiness for a second, we STILL don’t have a decent movie.  We have a recycled one.  I felt like the writers were taking the basic plot outline and filling in the blanks with the craziest and dumbest things they could think of.  Dave’s assistant suddenly going from legal assistant to a fling-ready tomboy?  Acting like Mitch does and no one fires or kills him?  Lorno? And then, after all the crassness and poop jokes, you try to get serious and shove in a daddy issue for Mitch and a career issue for Dave?  Too late!  No one stays consistent.  Everyone is all over the place and out of character.  Stop trying so damn hard, don’t waste Alan Arkin’s time, and keep it simple!  And cut a half hour out of your two-hour running time!  After about twenty minutes, it got old…

The only thing that redeems this movie a fraction is the actors.  Despite me not liking the film, Reynolds and Bateman did a decent job in their roles.  It was great to see Reynolds back in VAN WILDER and WAITING form, even if he did play the straight guy for 80% of the movie.  Bateman played completely against Michael Bluth type here and does an excellent job showing us his asshole side.  Also, in one specific moment, after Mitch (in Dave’s body) meets his dad, Bateman was able to bring the emotion when he realizes he can’t be a quitter anymore.  Beautiful.  But again, with all the crap coming out of each of their mouths, it was like every time we started to like them, we got beaten back down with a Teddy Roosevelt big-stick.  Leslie Mann, a staple in all of husband Judd Apatow’s films, was amusing and heartfelt, although, I have to say, her nudity wasn’t necessary.  Yes, I’m a guy, but I thought more of her than to just have a useless topless shot.  Olivia Wilde was also a lot of fun, and showed off a sexy, funny side, something we don’t usually get to see from her dramatic work.  Too bad with all these great actors, we get absolutely no help from the script.

Overall, THE CHANGE-UP is a mess.  It is lazy, rehashed, and cliché, and filled to the brim with unnecessary sex and poop jokes that could have been written by a five-year-old and a monkey.  All the actors are better than this script, and it’s disappointing, because I feel like if the writers just gave a little more effort into some realism, we could have had something of much better quality.

GRADE: D

Mike’s LIKES:

1) ALWAYS SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS WITH VIOLENCE: The one remotely amusing/touching storyline in this entire movie came on behalf of Cara Lockwood.  She was small and innocent, and seeing her take down her bully and the happiness on her face after was just plain adorable.

2) OLIVIA WILDE: The girl is gorgeous, and a great actress.  Here, she is just as unbelievably crass as the rest of the cast, but seeing as how this is her first showing of some ridiculous comedy in contrast to all her drama work, I have to give her a shout out.

3) NOT A QUITTER: The one time that Mitch (as Jason Bateman) snaps and says out of frustration that he’s not a quitter was a great little real moment.  I actually felt something for him.  Too bad the rest of the movie didn’t make me feel the same.

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) CRASS HUMOR OVERLOAD: Wow.  There are sex jokes, poop jokes, double entendres, gratuitous nudity, more sex jokes, and a naked pregnant woman  in a trench coat.  The lines are crosses multiple times over to the point that it just got nauseating.

2) VERY BAD, VERY WRONG SFX: Seriously?  In a movie like this, you have areas that look like they were done by a crappy After Effects editor?  And the things that they used the effects for were even more disturbing!  Making a baby smash his head into the side of his crib, the same baby throwing knives like he’s trained in weaponry, a baby “kicking” in the stomach of it’s mother, and another baby’s butt twitching before it poops are all not very funny options for me.

3) OVERDONE, BY THE BOOKS, AND CLICHÉ: The only thing trying to make this film stand out from BIG, 17 AGAIN, FREAKY FRIDAY, and the slew of other body switch movies is its ridiculously dirty and overblown humor, and even that didn’t work.  So in the end, you’re left with a basic, clichéd waste of two hours.

4) WASTED STORYLINES—ALAN ARKIN AND THE BOARD: I don’t even know why Alan Arkin was in this movie.  The character was completely wasted, and you know the man was there to collect a paycheck.  Also, Dave’s board seemed like it would be a big plot point to be in on, but there was really no risk, and after all the ‘work’ Mitch put in, it all came down to a decision that a fifth grader could have made.

5) HOW THE HELL ARE THEY FRIENDS?  With such completely different lives, I don’t see these two as best friends at all. I see them as ex-best friends when Dave dumps Mitch because he realizes he needs better friends, but besides that, I see no reason why these two would even interact.

EXTRA FACTS:

1) Leslie Mann also played the wife of a man who switches bodies (Matthew Perry) in 17 AGAIN.  That movie was just a little more tame with the humor…

2) Jason Bateman was in TEEN WOLF TOO.  And with that, I give you this: http://wp.me/p1iBDa-2k1

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Who Is This Brian Balthazar Guy, Anyway?

Did you see Brian on TV today? Wondering who he is? Here’s much more than you wanted to know. They leave the part out that he loves a well mixed Dark And Stormy, but let’s keep things professional…

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You may have seen Brian Balthazar on television this morning, heard him on the radio, or read about some recent developments in the world of media and pop culture. But who the hell is this guy? Brian Balthazar leads a double – triple – okay, maybe quadruple life. Part journalist, actor and comic, he appears on many TV shows as a guest, but is also a developer and creator of several television shows behind the scenes. This when he’s not renovating homes and making snacks for his websites, POPgoesTheWeek.com and Snackist.com.

After launching the fourth hour of the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, he turned his attention to cable television, overseeing the direction and development of several shows on HGTV, including Flip or Flop, Love It Or List It, Christina On The Coast, House Hunters, Hit Properties with Nathan Morris, Flea Market Flip and dozens more.

As a comic he served as the opening act for Russell Brand In New York City and the MTV series Man and Wife featuring hype man Fatman Scoop.  He has performed at The Comic Strip, Caroline’s On Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club and more.Wendy Williams Show Feb 2013

In addition to being a frequent guest on “The Wendy Williams Show,” (he co-hosted several times during Williams’ three week break) and appearing on the “Today” show, where he guest co-hosted with Jenna Hager-Bush,  Brian has frequently been seen co-hosting the syndicated TV gossip show Page Six TV.

Additionally, he was the sideline reporter for HGTV’s Rose Parade Coverage, hosted the HGTV Special I Bought A Famous House, and has appeared on CBS’s The Talk, HLN’s Showbiz Tonight, MSNBC’s Caught On Camera, The Joy Behar Show, and more.

Brian Balthazar Kathie Lee Hoda

An appearance on the fourth hour of the TODAY show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

He has also been an emcee for many notable events and sponsors, including work as a brand ambassador for Bombay Company, the co-host of the Miss Tennessee and Miss Mississippi USA pageants, and a red carpet host at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

You may also have seen Brian in some viral videos, most notably a recent parody of Bird Box, and a satirical look at House Hunters’ Writers’ Room.

HGTV – House Hunters Writer’s Room from Buffalo Picture House on Vimeo.

 Brian Balthazar Bombay

Appearing in a series of videos for Bombay Company.

 

Brian has provided analysis, interviews and helped co-host the Tony Awards backstage show. He also followed all the backstage madness at the launch of Fashion Week in New York City while co-hosting the Red Dress Event. He has been a roving reporter for the Dr. Oz show. Earlier in his career he was a features reporter and contributor on NBC, MSNBC, United Airlines In-Flight Entertainment and more.

For A&E network, Brian appeared in an episode of Biography about Jim Carrey. He also provided play by play of some of film’s greatest car chases for a documentary about, well, car chases. (Ask his family and they will tell you: NO one would have expected to see him in a show about cars. We’ll leave it at that.)

Pat-Benatar-Splash

Before ‘finding himself’ professionally, Brian was a singer on a ship, a publicist for a trance medium, an insurance customer service rep, waiter, bartender, activities director, substitute teacher, website programmer, pianist at a camp for spoiled children, and college mascot. None of them worked out. Let’s hope this does.

To contact Brian, email BrianBalthazar@aol.com.

To check out his video clips from NBC, HLN, and MSNBC, click HERE…

And – become his friend on facebook! www.facebook.com/brianbalthazar

For a more extensive listing of his TV appearances visit his IMDB page.

And he’s apparently getting better about Twitter. So he says. He’s @BrianBalthazar.

Thanks for reading POP GOES THE WEEK!

For his TV Appearances, Click on the TV APPEARANCES page.

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POP in the Kitchen! The Perfect Snack and Cocktail Pairings.

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POP Goes The Week’s Brian Balthazar is part of the all new Food Network Kitchen App! Cook LIVE alongside Brian as he makes get party food and the drinks that go perfectly with them!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited for this – I was thrilled to be a part of the new app, which is an all new way to cook with your favorite chefs and cooking experts. In the app, you can get the recipe and ingredients and recipe in advance, check the live class schedule, then cook at the very same time as your instructor!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to do a live snack and cocktail pairing, which you can still watch – and cook along with me! Trust me, these all start out as live, which means anything can happen! (I have an adventure with the broiler in one of them!)

Download the app here.

For my recipes, I made a pulled pork toast with queso, sour cream radishes and green onions, along with a smoky mezcal paloma.

Pulled Pork Toasts with Sour Cream, Queso, Radishes and Green onions, garnished with cilantro. The recipe is literally those ingredients stacked onto baguette slices!

In another class, I make lavender honey that gets drizzled right on top of baked brie with herbs, then use that same lavender honey for my own interpretation of a “Bees Knees” cocktail that I call a “Bees Knees Breeze.” I came up with the variation because the original recipe, simply gin, honey and lemon was just TOO strong for me and I found myself always getting plastered!

Check out the gallery of what I made, all available on the FNK app!

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I hope you can check them out, AND all your favorite instructors like Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis and Ree Drummond!

 

 

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‘Saved By The Bell’ Cast Reunited For 30th Anniversary – And I’m So Excited

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If you think your high school experience feels like ancient history then it won’t bring you any comfort to know that Saved By The Bell debuted 30 years ago!

Back in 1989, Saved By The Bell hit the small screen and quickly became a television staple. Over the course of its four seasons, the sitcom followed Zach Morris and his unique blend of friends as they navigated the tricky waters of high school. Everyone had a favorite Bayside Tiger and the series spawned many memorable scenes…but you are a liar if you didn’t say your favorite scene was where Jessie broke down crying after coming to terms with her caffeine pill addiction while crying out the most iconic line ever, “I’m so excited…I’m so excited…I’m so…scared”

 

In any event, some of Bayside’s most memorable students reunited over the weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the hit sitcom. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zach Morris), Tiffany Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) all gathered together to hit us right in the nostalgia. Notably missing were Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) and Dustin Diamond (Screech). Berkley wrote on her Instagram “FRIENDS FOREVER!!!” along with some sweet and fun hashtags. Lopez upped the ante and posted a video recapping the fun time the gang had as they reminisced on the days way back when. WHY WASN’T THIS TELEVISED?!? Many are speculating the reunion to be the beginnings of a reboot or revival but nothing of the sort has yet been confirmed.

 

 

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FRIENDS FOREVER #spousestoo!!!❤️❤️❤️#imsoexcited #buddybands #love #friends #family #life #magic

A post shared by Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (@elizberkley) on

 

 

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Credit card roulette comin up! #OldSchool

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