Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday


Reviewed by: David Stanners

Hollywood is currently refereeing an all female grappling match; one corner represents maternal instinct and the other, teenage angst. Catherine Hardwicke's Thirteen contests the heavyweight division and Freaky Friday the lightweight billing.

Lightweight in nature, even frivolous perhaps, but funny, brilliantly scripted and subtly moulded, Mark Waters's remake of the 1976 original, starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris, crosses the timeline wonderfully well and transposes the gags of a bygone era into modern L.A, where teenage girls and moms just don't get on. Have they ever?

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In 2003, Lindsay Lohan plays Annabel, a rebellious grungy teen chick with an attitude - not too much, though. She hates the popular pretty cheerleaders, fancies a guy with a Ducati bike, and plays in a band who sing stuff like, "Don't want to grow up, just want to get out." Flunking at school, because of a teacher with a secret vendetta, Anna incurs the wrath of her mother, Dr Tess Coleman (Jamie Lee Curtis), who is busy balancing a successful professional life as a celebrity psychologist with her new fiance, as well as the usual traumas of mothering kids.

The real action kicks in when Anna and Tess change lives after eating a magic Chinese cracker, with the result that the teen rebel is transported into the world of a cool clinical shrink, with a well-educated WASP vocabulary and accent to match. Meanwhile, Dr Coleman takes a trip into that other world of abstract colloquialisms and raging estrogen. While Anna, as Tess, goes to town insulting every one of her mother's clinical patients, Tess, as Anna, chats up Jake - hot guy with Ducati bike - very nearly pulling him, makes a fool of herself at her book launch, dresses like Stevie Nicks and almost hashes her plans to wed fiance Ryan (Mark Harmon).

To say much more would spoil the fun - and great fun it is. Lohan makes a smashing transformation into middle-aged professionalism, bearing brilliantly all the quirks and traits of her mother. Curtis is the true scene-stealer, though, and shines from start to finish. Looking unashamedly middle-aged at times, she portrays the 15-year-old Anna with relentless gusto and enthusiasm. Her rapport and sexual double entendres with Jake (Chad Michael Murray) are kept light and comfortable with constant humorous undertones.

Other notables are Willy Garson as a camp hypochondriac, Harry Gould as grandpa and Stephen Tobolowsky as Anna's thoroughly conceited teacher with an axe to grind.

It would have been easy to slide into dull rehash mode, but Heather Hach and Leslie Dixon have adapted Mary Rodgers original novel beautifully, capturing the teenage zeitgeist in all its bolshie glory. In the end, this is an old-fashioned Disney tale about coming to terms with each other and understanding different generational ways of thinking.

If Thirteen carries a heavier punch, Freaky Friday ducks, dives and dances around the ring, grinning and laughing.

Reviewed on: 18 Dec 2003
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Screwball comedy about a mother and teenage daughter who switch bodies for the day.
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Director: Mark S Waters

Writer: Heather Hach, Leslie Dixon, based on the novel by Mary Rodgers

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Harold Gould. Chad Michael Murray, Stephen Tobolowsky, Willy Garson, Christina Vidal, Ryan Malgarini, Rosalind Chao

Year: 2003

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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