It’s Freaky Friday on magic mushrooms in director Caden Butera’s barnstorming feature debut Swap Me, Baby. Lily (Kimberly Leemans) is a successful yet repressed businesswoman who is nine months pregnant. Philippe (Falk Hentschel), the baby’s father, is a French male prostitute Lily hired one night, and the condom broke on his rented penis. They are meeting together with therapist Juniper (Ava Bogle) to find a way to work together on the baby’s arrival.
Lily is no-nonsense and has done exhaustive research on parenting. Philippe believes all the baby needs are goats, as he felt he learned everything he needed to know from his formative years on a goat farm. Juniper opens a little treasure box, and inside is a brochure of a nature getaway. Lily hates nature, while Philippe thrives on it. Lily wants to use the time at the cabin planning the baby’s life with post-it notes and parenting podcasts. Philippe wants to spend the time frolicking while gobbling fistfuls of magic mushrooms. She thinks he’s selfish and irresponsible. Philippe thinks Lily is the killer of all fun.
“When they wake up, Lily is in Philippe’s body, and Philippe is in Lily’s body.”
While Lily organizes and arranges, Philippe trips balls in a hammock by a hot spring. Suddenly a treasure box like the one in the therapist’s office rises out of the misty water. When Philippe and Lily both grab the box together, they are hit with a surge of magical electric current that knocks them out. When they wake up, Lily is in Philippe’s body, and Philippe is in Lily’s body. Philippe suddenly has a baby swimming inside him like a little fish. Lily is suddenly tripping balls with actual real dangly balls drooping off her. They must work together in order to figure out how to get back into their original bodies. However, they soon find the magical therapy treasure box is a hard taskmaster.
Swap Me, Baby is one of those movies that keeps surprising you by how great it is. It’s like opening a cereal box and finding it jam-packed with toys. The brilliant script by Jesse Luman, from a story by Luman, Hentschel, and Taylor Morden, has great pacing and is funny as hell. It scores its first depth charge with the opening line where Bogle tells the leads that if they don’t get their s**t together, they’re going to f**k their baby up. That sets the raunchy tone for the rom-com proceedings that intensify as the drugs kick in. There are some great sequences that milk the humor from two scoops of near-full male nudity.
The 21st-century answer to the comedic pie in the face is a buck-a*s naked dude. Add the drug humor and farting, and you got yourself one helluva date night. I am always impressed by how quickly some indie films complete the set-up to get to the action. Luman breaks a land speed record by setting up the entire premise with character history established in just under three minutes. Then, we arrive at the body swap in a lightning 13 minutes. It is a wonder to behold, like an inflatable mattress that inflates instantly by plugging it into a wall instead of having to blow into it for hours.
"…made me laugh so hard I almost switched bodies with my pants."