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7 Best Body Swap Movies Ever

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September 16th, 2011

The Change Up premiered starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds as, respectively, a married-with-children and a single ladies man who swap bodies while pissing in a fountain.  The idea of walking around in someone else’s shoes is certainly a mantra that has been around a long time and (especially in the late 1980’s) a plot device that Hollywood loves.  Being a married-with-children myself, I’ve often considered the benefits of a body swap with Ryan Reynolds, though I would have preferred his married-to-Scarlett-Johansson era.  My wife is on board.  I digress.  The pool of films is a little slim, but let’s single out the seven best body swap movies of them all.  I’m going out on a limb because I obviously haven’t seen it yet and starting the list off with…

1 – The Change Up (2011) – I have become a big Jason Bateman fan of late with his recent work in Couples Retreat, Juno, and Horrible Bosses.  The previews look hilarious and it should be an interesting twist to see the body swap between two adult male friends as opposed to a parent and a child.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s written by the writer of The Hangover.  It looks like it’s going to be a blast.

2 – Freaky Friday (1976, 1995, 2003) – Disney has gone to the well multiple times with this story of mother and daughter who switch roles at the worst possible time and learn to respect the challenges the other faces.  The 1973 version with Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris is a classic, but I actually really like the 2003 version with Jamie Lee Curtis and a pre-disaster Lindsay Lohan.  Forget the 1995 TV movie starring Shelly Long and Gabby Hoffmann.

3 – Face-Off (1997) – This one is a bit of a cheat.  In Face-Off Nicolas Cage and John Travolta’s do trade places and infiltrate one another’s lives.  However, there is no body swap, only facial plastic surgery that makes them appear to be each other.  And this one doesn’t try to dispense any wisdom about understanding other people.  It’s just a device to put at the center of some great action sequences.

4 – Tied for the fourth spot is the late 1980’s.  Like the 1970’s for disaster films and the late 1990’s for end of the world flicks, the late 1980’s was the golden era of body swap cinema.  Problem is, all four were pretty bad, and also had to battle Big which had a similar theme.  At any rate, 1987’s Like Father Like Son (father and son), 1988’s 18 Again (George Burns and grandson), 1988’s Vice Versa (father and son), and 1989’s Dream a Little Dream (old man and young boy) all did their best add a little testosterone to the Freaky Friday concept.



I teach English, coach basketball and football, and play in a bar band in Arizona. I prefer the round Chicken McNugget to the peanut-shaped one, and Ginger to Mary Ann. I am a Gemini who loves attending concerts with my wife and children, beef jerky, and Scarlett Johansson. Vehicles with ladders = cool. Sugarland = not cool. Using the = symbol = lame.
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