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Body-swapping comedy 'The Change-Up' nearly had a different ending - stream it on Peacock

Sometimes it is okay to cross the streams...if you know what we mean.

By Josh Weiss
Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds in The Change-Up (2011)

Six years after Wedding Crashers became the first R-rated comedy to reach $200 million at the domestic box office, filmmaker David Dobkin returned to his raunchy roots as director of The Change-Up (now streaming on Peacock). 

A foul-mouthed spin on the body swapping genre made iconic by the likes of Freaky Friday (both the 1976 version and its 2003 remake) and The Hot Chick (2002), the film stars Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds as a pair of childhood friends who supernaturally exchange lives after drunkenly urinating into a magical fountain.

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When said fountain is removed by the city for refurbishment, it effectively vanishes into a web of bureaucratic red tape, forcing the mismatched buddies to adapt to their unfamiliar circumstances until they can track down the only object capable of returning them to their respective forms. David Lockwood (Bateman), an ambitious lawyer raising three young children with his neglected wife, gets to experience the freedoms of being single, while eternal slacker Mitch Planko (Reynolds) learns an important lesson in responsibility.

Chatting with CinemaBlend around the movie's release in August 2011, Dobkin explained that unlike most comedies, the vast majority of the finished product was based on the original screenplay written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (creators of The Hangover franchise).

"It is the most astounding percentage of a script to a finished comedy," he said. "There is a good 10% that Jason and Ryan have lines and ideas, or let's say it’s 80% the original script, but it’s a lot. I mean, I can tell you structurally, almost scene-for-scene through most of the movie."

In the end, David and Mitch track down the fountain, which has been relocated to a crowded shopping mall. Public indecency takes a temporary hiatus from polite society as the friends void their bladders into the magical waters, grossly offending spectators of all ages. It's an outrageous climax, albeit one that fits in nicely with the overall bawdiness of the last two hours. According to Dobkin, however, the mall-based resolution came pretty late in production after another ending had already been filmed.

"There was an ending where they went to a warehouse originally, and they had to pee in front of all of the workers there. But they had the idea of putting it in a shopping mall," he revealed. "And we shot something different from that, there was one where they show up and the fountain is broken, and Mitch gets angry and pushes [the statue] over, and then breaks it, then they piss on [its] head, they don’t know if it worked or not. That’s the one that we shot, it was really funny. But then the writers were just like, 'Oh wait, we have a really good idea,' one day. And I went to the studio and was like, 'I think this is worth it. This is crazy.' And it’s more related to the original script idea. They went for it."

The Change-Up is now streaming on Peacock alongside the pilot episode of Resident Alien, which Dobkin directed and executive produced.