Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 13, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 9

Sierra Madre Playhouse PresentsGilbert & Sullivan'sThe Yeomen of the GuardAugust 19 - September 24Director: Eugene J. HutchinsMusic Director: Brian Asher AlhadeffPurchase tickets online: www.sierramadreplayhouse.orgor call: (626) 355-4318 • Group Sales: (626)


 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 13, 2011 




As the race 
for the best 
comedy of 
the summer, 
The Change-
Up may just 
be the one to hold the throne. While this 
illustrious status might appear to be grand in 
nature, one must bear in mind that it’s not 
like it was going up against stiff competition.


Any specific elements that seemed to be 
lacking in The Hangover: Part II, Horrible 
Bosses and Bad Teacher (nothing in that 
film worked at all), is touched upon (at times 
half-heartedly) in The Change-Up. It went 
for more crudeness than Horrible Bosses, it 
provided more consistent laughs than The 
Hangover: Part II and did everything better 
than the ill-conceived Bad Teacher. 

The plot of the movie is far from original. 
It’s about two best friends that live entirely 
different lifestyles and magically switch 
bodies after announcing to one another that 
they wish they had the other’s life. Jason 
Bateman plays Dave Lockwood, a straight-
laced, successful lawyer and father of three. 
He doesn’t spend all that much time with his 
wife these days and it has a put a bit of strain 
on their marriage. Ryan Reynolds portrays 
Mitch Planko, a single, sort of loser-ish ladies 
man. It’s briefly shown that he has a stressed 
relationship with his father, played by Alan 
Arkin. It is due to the fact that Mitch never 
grew up and lacks any true responsibilities 
or motivation. In any event, after a night of 
drinking (never entering “Hangover” status-
like), Dave and Mitch decide to urinate in 
a fountain. Once they recite the same lines 
about wanting the other’s life simultaneously, 
the whole city has a rolling black out. The 
following morning, they wake up in the 
other’s body. This occurs within the initial 
fifteen minutes and after that, the energetic 
pace of the movie dives into outrageous, 
ridiculous, and absurd terrain. However, it’s 
sort of endearing and sentimental too. It’s a 
wildly uneven ride, but that’s why it kind of 

The electrifying comedic performances of 
Bateman and Reynolds are what make the 
movie become lifted from pure mediocrity. 
It’s fun to watch these guys playing the type 
of character the other one usually plays. 
We’re so accustomed to Jason Bateman 
playing the same, straight-laced character, 
such as the one from his beloved TV series, 
Arrested Development. Reynolds is usually 
the fratboy, too cool for school sort of guy, 
but plays the reserved and more responsible 
type. It’s actually refreshing to see if you’re 
a fan of these two actors (such as I am). 
Surprisingly so, the supporting women 
characters were written quite well. Leslie 
Mann and Olivia Wilde don’t feel like stock 
women characters for the men to merely just 
play off of. They are independent, believable 
and have real personalities. Director David 
Dobkin, best known for Wedding Crashers, 
is able to get everyone on their A-game. 
He keeps things wild and unrestrained, but 
knows (majority of the time) not to go too 
overboard. However, he probably used a 
little more CGI than necessary. I guess the 
new thing for nude scenes is CGI nipples. 
Hey guys, kind of shame, isn’t it? As I digress, 
Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the team behind 
the first Hangover, wrote the screenplay. 
They certainly know how keep things fun 
and vibrant. The script’s pace is swift and 
generally funny, but not everything here is a 
success. Sometimes the jokes go a little too 
far for a laugh and the gross out humor in the 
beginning may be a turn off for some. There 
are a lot of F-bombs and while most seem 
appropriate, the overwhelmingly amount 
could have certain individuals turned off by 
it. In the third act, the movie wanders into 
the obligatory life lesson segment. While we 
perceptively know where it’s heading, it does 
however, genuinely feel valid getting there. 
Needless to say, it does it a hell of a better 
than the atrocious Bad Teacher set out to 

It’s possible to write off The Change-Up 
as a Hollywood manufactured movie. The 
premise is as old as dirt and certain plot 
points seems to be sugarcoated. Strangely 
enough, the movie is far better than what it 
is on paper and simply based on the trailer 
alone. It’s a traditional story kicked up a few 
notches with its ribald dialect, raunchiness, 
and distasteful humor, but it actually comes 
together relatively well. The performances are 
spot on and that’s credited to Bateman and 
Reynolds’ ultra strong comedic sensibilities. 

The Change-Up easily provides the most 
laughs of any of the R-rated comedies this 
summer. It’s risky and takes chances the other 
films seem to avoid on doing. While it’s far 
from perfect and has its share of problems, 
it’s ultimately satisfying in the way a summer 
comedy should be. 

THE CHANGE-UPRelease Date: August 5, 2011
Directed by: David Dobkin 
Screenplay by: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Rated: R for pervasive strong crude 
sexual content and languaage, some 
graphic nudity and drug use.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

YoGamaDreNew students only.
Limited time offer.


The Technological Invasion of the 
Body Snatchers

By Christopher Nyerges

 [Nyerges is the author of "Self-Sufficient Home," "How to 
Survive Anywhere," and other books. He writes a blog on 
his web site, and he conducts outdoor field trips. He can 
be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or www.]


When you mention movies that refer to Sierra 
Madre, folks will commonly bring up Humphrey 
Bogart’s "Treasure of Sierra Madre." Of 
course, that had nothing to do with our Sierra 
Madre, but rather the Sierra Madre mountains 
in northern Mexico. It’s a good movie 
about human nature, and well-worth your 


The other movie that took place in Sierra 
Madre was the original "Invasion of the Body 
Snatchers," where the pods were being unloaded 
at the triangle at Baldwin and Sierra 
Madre Ave. It’s an insightful movie into human 
nature, and some have called it an analogy 
to alcoholism. Really! Watch the movie 
sometime and see if you agree. But you could 
also argue that the movie presented an analogy 
to any sort of addiction, or cult-thinking, 
where we are no longer in full control of our 


A few recent experiences have made me realize 
that most of us are already fully "podded." 


Not long ago on a hot night, I went to a local 
coffee shop to drink iced tea. I thought I would 
meet someone and engage them in good old-
fashioned conversation. I purchased my iced 
tea and then found a comfortable chair and 
read the latest issue of Mountain Views. I 
hadn’t paid attention to the other patrons but 
I noted it was very quiet. 


Finally looking up from my cool beverage 
and the rantings of my favorite Mountain 
Views columnist Stuart Tolchin, I saw that 
there was only one person per table, each 
wholly engaged in their laptop world. There 
was some light jazz playing in the room, but 
I seemed to be the only one tapping my foot 
to the music of Dave Brubeck. Everyone had 
wires in their ears extending to some hidden 
source. Everyone was tuned into something 
else, somewhere else, and no one was tuned 
into the here and now. A full room of lonely, 
separated, non-communicating people. No 
conversation would be possible.


I went outside to enjoy the cool evening 
breeze and maybe make conversation with 
my fellow sojourners. One man sat alone outside 
but spoke in hushed tones as he waved 
his arms. No, not a crazy man, but a man 
who was also elsewhere on his cell phone. 
The other person outside was a woman, also 
alone and yelling into the abyss of her phone. 
I would be making no conversation out here, 
I realized. Everyone was somewhere else.

I felt disoriented, like a stranger in strange 
land of techno-toys. I got in my vehicle and 
drove away.


I went to a local market, did my shopping, 
and noted that nearly half the shoppers were 
not here now, but chatted away on their cell 
phones and other devices to people somewhere 
else. Some had wires extending from 
their ears. 


One man entered with a silver device 
wrapped around his ear, Star Trek-like, and 
he was obviously elsewhere as he talked to 
unseen recipients. I hailed him with my hand, 
and inquired about the object.


"It’s my I-pod," he said enthusiastically. "I 
couldn’t live without it," as he walked on and 
continued his very important conversation. 


A friend who plays on a sports team at a local 
college told me that she takes a school bus to 
the other school for the soccer meets, plays 
the game, and then all her fellow students sit 
in their own private I-podded musical worlds 
as they bus home.

"Don’t you all talk about the game?" I asked.

"We don’t do that," was her 


What a depressing world 
we’ve devolved into. I can 
recall bussing home from 
high school track meets, listening 
to "Papa Was A Rolling 
Stone" and all us boys 
loudly sang along in comraderie, 
whether we lost 
or won. How have we descended 
to the point where 
it is regarded as better to 
reside in a safe little podded 


It would be instructive for 
today’s over-teched youth 
to go watch the original Invasion 
of the Body Snatchers, 
and replace "pod" with 
"I-pod." We are all being 
podded, and without a fight.


Later that night, there was 
a localized blackout in my 
neighborhood for five hours 
or so. I sat outside in the cool darkness of the 
evening with no cell phone, no lights, no TV, 
no telephone, no e-mail, no electronic gadget 
which would pod my mind and rob my time. 
It was a deep pleasure to be alone with myself, 
to think about life, and life’s important questions, 
with no chance for google or wickipedia 
to presume to know my inner answers. 


Though I marvel at our technological advances, 
I cringe with sadness to realize what 
all of us have lost.

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