Movie Reviews

Freaky Friday

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 6 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

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Cast:
Jamie Lee Curtis as Tess Coleman
Lindsay Lohan as Annabell Coleman
Harold Gould as Grandpa
Janet Choi as Dr. Mary Ann Smyth
Chad Murray as Jake
Mark Harmon as Ryan
Cayden Boyd as Harry's Friend
Chris Carlberg as Ethan
Julie Gonzalo as Stacey Hinkhouse
Haley Hudson as Peg
Michael Lohan as Victor
Ryan Malgarini as Harry Coleman
Marc McClure as Boris Harris
Danny Rubin as Scott
Stephen Tobolowsky as Mr. Bates
Christina Vidal as Maddie

Summary:
Freaky Friday is a surprisingly fun remake of the 1976 original. Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan both deliver excellent and amusing performances.

Story:
This movie is based on the novel by Mary Rodgers and the original 1976 Disney film.

Tess Coleman is a very busy woman. Not only is this widow a popular psychologist and author raising two kids on her own, but she’s set to be married to the new man in her life, Ryan. Chores, beepers, and cell phones dominate her daily routine. She seems to hardly have time for her rebellious 15-year-old daughter Annabell. Annabell has troubles of her own as well. She’s picked on by classmates, harassed by her little brother, persecuted by her teacher, and unable to get the attention of Jake, a boy she has a crush on. Her up and coming band is also waiting for a big break that has yet to come.

After having a really bad Thursday, Tess and Annabell have an explosive confrontation at a Chinese restaurant. Each accuses the other of not being understanding, and both thinks the other has it easier. The owner of the restaurant, an elderly Chinese lady, secretly intercedes with a little magic. She gives the ladies fortune cookies that will cause them to switch bodies until they come to an understanding.

The following Friday, mother and daughter awake to find they have switched bodies. Unable to figure out what to do, they decide to go to school and work for each other until they can switch their bodies back. But will trading places be as easy as they think or will even great disaster strike first?

“Freaky Friday” is rated PG for mild thematic elements and some language.

What Worked:
When I heard this film was being made, my first question was, “Why?” Why did Disney feel the need to remake one of their classic films rather than find new material? Why remake a concept and story that had been done dozens of times in every conceivable variation? Why, why, why? After seeing the film, I realized why. While I had seen the original film many times, all the children in the audience were seeing it for the first time. This was all new stuff for them. And, surprisingly, it still works and is a fun story thanks to a modern twist on the tale and the talents of Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan.

Jamie Lee Curtis was the perfect choice to play the mother in this film. She’s able to play someone who is either very mature or very childish with ease and make it all believable. Her transformation from mother to daughter is perfectly played and she ends up having some of the funnier moments in the film. Seeing her pick on her brother/son, playing guitar, and getting a makeover were really amusing. It helps that Jamie Lee Curtis seems to really be having fun making the movie, too.

Lindsay Lohan really stands out as Annabell Coleman. I think this is an actress that we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future. Like Curtis, Lohan is also able to change from daughter to mother with complete believability. When she first becomes “mom”, her mannerisms instantly change. The way she deals with her son, her touches, and side phrases are all so mom-like you instantly buy her performance. There’s a scene towards the end where Lohan (as mom) must go on stage to perform in a concert. Her dance moves and lip-synching are truly hilarious as she tries to imitate the Rolling Stones. Lohan does eventually get her body back and she does a good job singing the song in the closing credits.

The rest of the cast is good as well. Also look for Marc McClure to reprise his role from the first film as Boris Harris. It’s a fun tip of the hat to the original.

Overall Freaky Friday has some fun jokes, some good music, and some great performances. It’s not as good as the 1976 original, but it’s still a lot of fun and I think adults and kids will enjoy it.

What Didn’t Work:
Take definite note of the PG rating. I never thought Jamie Lee Curtis would be shown wearing a thong in a Walt Disney film, but it does happen briefly in Freaky Friday. The little brother also calls his grandfather an “old fart” and mocks him throughout the movie. If your kid has a tendency to repeat things they see on movies and TV, you might not like them repeating some of what this kid says. If my children talked like that to their grandparents, they’d get whapped upside their heads.

I thought the original film did a good job of emphasizing Annabell reconciling with her little brother. While this film briefly does that, it’s not one of the main points of the movie. They also emphasize a creepy infatuation that Jake has for Annabell’s mother. While we know Jake is really falling for Annabell in Tess’ body, Jake doesn’t know that. He meets her and a few hours later seems to be stalking her by showing up at her house and her wedding rehearsal. Jake is supposed to be like 17 and Annabell’s mom is like 45. It really creeped me out, but nobody else seemed bothered by it.

And even though the final product was entertaining, I think they could have done something more original with the story. Maybe have three generations of women switching places repeatedly through the movie. Have mother, daughter, and granddaughter swap at random as they try and set things right. An original spin besides a modern setting would have been cool.

The Bottom Line:
I really wasn’t expecting much from this movie but in the end I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it and my kid liked it, so it was a pleasant outing all the way around. If you like Jamie Lee Curtis or if you want to see up and coming actress Lindsey Lohan, check out Freaky Friday.

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