British Board of Film Classification

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Type of media Film

Approved Running time 112m 19s

Release date 16/09/2011

BBFCInsight Contains strong language, sex, sex references and drug use

Genre(s) Comedy

Director(s) David Dobkin

Cast includes Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 06/09/2011

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

THE CHANGE-UP is a US comedy about two men, one a busy father and the other an idle playboy, who swap bodies after making a wish whilst urinating into a magic fountain. The film was classified '15' for strong language, sex, sex references and drug use.

The film contains frequent use of strong language. The strong language is generally comic but sometimes aggressively directed. This language exceeds the terms of the BBFC's Guidelines at '12A'/'12', which state 'The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent', but is permissible at '15' where the Guidelines state 'There may be frequent use of strong language'.

The film includes a handful of strong sex scenes. These include a comic scene in which one of the central characters finds himself inadvertently acting in a soft core porn film after he has exchanged bodies with his friend. There is no strong sexual detail on screen, although the scene clearly implies sexual activity. Nonetheless, the focus is on the comic discomfort of the man who has found himself in an unexpected situation. The scene also includes some strong verbal sex references, in particular when the character is given detailed instructions about what to do by the director of the porn film. However, the references are comic and often ridiculous in nature and the emphasis is once again on the discomfort of the central character, rather than on anything erotic. In addition, the 'playboy' character often uses crude verbal sexual references, including to sexual acts such as fellatio. However, the context is comic and the references are used to illustrate his hedonistic lifestyle and lack of concern for ordinary standards, which are challenged as the film develops. The Guidelines at '15' state 'Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context'.

The film includes several references to drug use, including sight of one of the main characters smoking cannabis. The drug taking is not explicitly condemned but the user's life-style is shown to be irresponsible, aimless and unsatisfactory and he gradually takes steps to change. The Guidelines at '15' state 'Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse'.

The film also includes some moments of 'gross out comedy'. One of these involves sight of a father changing his children's nappies. In one case, we briefly see faeces on the baby's buttocks, and in another case we see excrement spraying from a baby's anus into the father's face. The intention of the scene is comic and it is clear that the 'spray' has been produced using effects.


Universal Pictures Int (UK)
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
112m 19s
Approved footage
BBFC reference
Registration number

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