If your partner doesn’t like rom-coms, then Swap Me, Baby is a raunchy rom-com smoothie that blends the genre staples so well that you don’t know you are swallowing them between gut laughs. The screenplay also explores the down and dirty of what folks would really do with self-exploration if they switched bodies with another gender. The weird three-fingered thing made me laugh so hard I almost switched bodies with my pants.
Butera makes all the right moves directing his first feature. He employs Leone-like stylistic flourishes in spots for seasoning but doesn’t overwork the flair. There is a good variety of emotional engagements that are executed very well. There is also the genius decision to add the wonderful animation of Joey Brobeck to the opening credits and intersperse them throughout as hallucinations. A Yellow Submarine vibe is at full throb with Brobeck’s psychedelic butterflies and caterpillars, indicating characters are still on mushrooms.
“…the biggest surprise I have seen this year.”
But, of course, it is the back-breaking, body-swapping work by leads Leemans and Hentschel that elevates Swap Me, Baby to the stratosphere. Their first feat is fleshing out their characters to be likable while riddled with flaws in record time. Then the two actors have to put even more work into keeping up the other actor’s portrayal once the swap happens. To the actors’ credit, these personas feel like real people instead of mannerisms and schtick.
Leemans puts in one of the best performances I have seen by an actress playing a male prostitute while actually pregnant. Likewise, Hentschel puts in one of the best performances I have seen by an actor playing a pregnant woman tripping on mushrooms while buck-a*s naked. The two completely inhabit each other’s characters, never sinking down to ridiculing them no matter how hard the onslaught of comedy gets.
Swap Me, Baby is currently the biggest surprise I have seen this year. I never imagined Face/Off as a rom-com, but a little mushrooms went a long way to me falling in love with this picture.
"…made me laugh so hard I almost switched bodies with my pants."