Freaky Friday Review
By Shawn McKenzie 08/06/2003
I remember the original 1976 Disney classic Freaky Friday as one of the first movies I ever saw as a kid. Ever since, it didn’t matter what movie role Jodie Foster did after that. I didn’t care how many serial killers she was tracking down or panic rooms she was diving into, I always saw Annabel Andrews. I probably knew more about the original version when I went into the screening of this remake than most people there, so it had a lot to live up to this time. While the original will still always have a special place in my heart, this version may soon be placed in the hearts of today’s kids.
Fifteen-year-old Anna Coleman (Lindsay Lohan) feels unappreciated by her mother Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis.) She doesn’t think Tess takes her musical ambitions seriously, and that she is getting remarried too soon after the death of her father. Tess is a busy psychologist who has an easier time understanding her patients than her family. She is engaged to Ryan (Mark Harmon), dealing with her live-in father (Harold Gould), and raising her two kids, Anna and Harry (Ryan Malgarini.) Both Anna and Tess think the other one has it easier. One night, while having dinner at Pei-Pei’s (Rosalind Chao) Chinese restaurant, Pei-Pei’s mom (Lucille Soong) gives Anna and Tess a fortune cookie. Suddenly, an earthquake happens, but only Anna and Tess feel it. The next morning, they discover that they are in the body of the other one. After attempting to see if they can switch back (in a hilarious shot of them running into each other at full speed), they realize that they need to get on with the day and figure out how to switch back later. Anna goes to Tess’s office as Tess, where she has to deal with patients like Evan (Willie Garson), a nervous guy who needs to see her every day. She soon discovers how cool it is to have a charge card and a car. The downside is that she doesn’t want to kiss Ryan, since it creeps her out, and she certainly didn’t want to marry him. On the flipside, Tess goes to school as Anna. She doesn’t understand the attitudes and outfits of Anna’s friends, Maddie (Christina Vidal) and Peg (Haley Hudson.) Anna is the lead guitarist in a rock band called Pink Slip with Maddie and Peg, and they can’t understand why she was suddenly acting so uncool. Tess also discovers that Anna has a few enemies. Stacey Hinkhouse (Julie Gonzalo), a girl she used to be friends with, now hates her guts for some reason. Also, Anna’s English teacher, Mr. Bates (Stephen Tobolowsky), has it out for her for some reason. Furthermore, Tess discovers that Anna likes a boy named Jake (Chad Michael Murray), but after Jake runs into the Anna-in-Tess’s-body and has a great conversation with her over coffee, Jake starts liking Tess. Things become even more stressful when it is realized that Tess and Ryan’s wedding rehearsal dinner was on the same evening as an amateur battle-of-the-bands contest that Pink Slip has been entered into. That evening was at the end of that day, and both of them realize that they need to switch back before then. Anna had no desire to get all gooey and snuggly with Ryan, and Tess doesn’t know how to play the guitar. They find out their predicament has something to do with the fortune cookies, but they don’t know what the messages in the cookies mean. They try to figure those messages out before their respective events, and certainly before the wedding that is to take place on the next day.
Can you believe that there were so many of these “body-switching” movies in the ‘80s that it almost became its own genre? Remember Vice Versa? Like Father, Like Son? 18 Again? Dream a Little Dream? Even Big was one of these movies to an extent. I still have to side with the original Freaky Friday though. While I didn’t think Curtis and Lohan captured their reverse ages as well as they could, I do believe they accurately captured the other character’s identities. Tess was a quick moving, on-the-go mom, and Lohan’s performance as Tess-in-Anna equaled the impatience of the character. Vice versa (pun intended) on Curtis as Anna (though the bodysurfing scene was a little much.) It was also kind of cool that the movie paid homage to the original version by having Marc McClure (best known as Jimmy Olsen in the Superman movies) reprise his role as Boris Harris in a cameo this time (Boris delivers a package to Tess’s office, and apparently his nasal problem has gone away.)
The music in this movie is surprisingly catchy. Pink Slip performs two songs in the movie, “Take Me Away” and “Ultimate.” Lohan, Vidal, and Hudson all had to take music lessons, so they actually perform the songs with Chris Carlberg (who plays Ethan the drummer) and Danny Rubin (who plays Scott the bass player.) Most of the rest of the soundtrack includes punk versions of pop songs like the Turtles’ “Happy Together” and Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time.” There is something about pop-punk that just makes everything more fun.
The new Freaky Friday has the potential to be a favorite memory of today’s kids. Thankfully, the well-worn “body-switching” genre hasn’t produced a movie in a while, so this one is welcome. I heard one reviewer say this film isn’t as good because the original one got to show Jodie Foster play homemaker, which was funny to
watch, but this version had a working mother, so it wasn’t as funny. I think updating it for the times was appropriate, and it still managed to be funny. While I do like the original version better, I would watch this version on any freaky Friday you wanted (and on silly Saturdays, wacky Wednesdays…)
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