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Trading Faces: 10 Body-Switching Movies
David Bax , April 17th, 2009 03:36

As the insipid-looking Zach Efron vehicle 17 Again threatens to invade our cinemas, David Bax from the Battleship Pretension podcast looks back on the often overlooked (and rightly so) body-switching film genre.

There are two standard-bearers for the high-concept, low-result comedy subgenre, twin statues at the gates of the body-switching compound. Vice Versa and Like Father Like Son were not the first and they were certainly not the best, but they have come to represent everything we associate with these movies — the preposterous explanations for the switch, the overacting by the under-skilled, and the fact that both were released in the 1980s, when films like these sprung up like dandelions all over the pop culture garden. The genre may have resurfaced occasionally since that great decade but, sadly, the careers of these film's stars — Judge Reinhold, Fred Savage, Dudley Moore, Kirk Cameron — never emerged from the obscurity they were already teetering over when they agreed to star in them.

Vice Versa and Like Father Like Son are beyond judgement. One might say they are awful, while another might argue that they achieve a kind of perfection in their ridiculousness. So as not to spark such ugly debates, we will leave them out of the ranking today. But below, we present five bad and five good examples of the body-switching genre.

Five Bad and Five Good Body-Switching Movies

Listen to David's latest Battleship Pretension podcast