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Freaky Friday (PG)
Walt Disney Pictures
Official Site
Director: Mark Waters
Producer: Andrew Gunn
Written by: Heather Hach, Leslie Dixon; based on the book by Mary Rodgers
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Harold Gould, Janet Choi, Chad Michael Murray, Mark Harmon, Ryan Malgarini, Christina Vidal

Rating: out of 5

There are no big surprises in this movie. After all, this is the second Freaky Friday remake by Disney since the first one was released in 1976. This version is predictable but engaging, and updated for the new millennium where mom Tess (Curtis) is a busy psychoanalyst and daughter Anna (Lohan) is a music-loving guitar player. Tess doesn’t understand why Anna is so independent and rebellious. Anna doesn’t understand why Tess is so preoccupied by work. Both suffer the inability to figuratively step in each others’ shoes until magic fortune cookies force them to, literally.

The set-up for the action is ripe for hilarity. Not only is Tess about to marry and Anna about to play in her biggest gig to date, the two of them are so different in personality and habits that an exchange of bodies causes quite a lot of conflict.

Jamie Lee Curtis has a grand time acting like teen stuck in a woman’s body. She gets all the fun scenes when she switches from straight-laced Tess to the youthful and hip Anna-inhabited Tess, one of them being a head-to-toe makeover with newly discovered credit cards. She also spouts slang, wildly drives a car by herself, and becomes all giddy when Anna’s bad boy crush Jake (Murray) rides up in his motorcycle.

As the Tess-inhabited Anna, Lindsay Lohan has less to work with. Her character tries over and over to maintain authority only to realize she has no credibility because of her appearance. At school, overbearing teachers and exams are realities once again. Later, Lohan does have some goofy scenes as well when Tess begins to lighten up and realize that she is in a teen’s body after all. 

The switched duo’s friends and relatives are understandably confused. Harry (Malgarini), the younger brother, can tell something is wrong when his sister calls him “honey” and his usually supportive mother starts teasing him. Anna’s friends wonder why her enthusiasm for their garage band PinkSlip has suddenly waned. Ryan (Harmon), Tess’s fiancé, is the most perplexed as his future wife begins to avoid his kisses and pursue new, wilder interests the day before matrimony.

For a movie about people trying to understand what goes on underneath the surface, there are a few stereotypes that could have been avoided. Tess’s patients are shown as jittery, paranoid, and vapid. The hostess at the Chinese restaurant where the fateful fortune cookies are received is given bad English and an accent.

Overall, the movie does a great job at what it’s trying to do. It has remade an old favorite to fit the current environment, told a wholesome story in a fun and entertaining way, and it succeeds at being cute and sweet. This is a great movie for girls and their moms, and I highly recommend this movie to that particular demographic. It sends a good overall message and contains no iffy content.

However, I would be hesitant to recommend this movie to anyone else. This isn’t one of those movies aimed at children that equally entertains adults, such as Finding Nemo or other Pixar inventions. There are no inside jokes that go over the young’uns’ heads but amuse the older folks. This is just pure kid’s entertainment through and through.

—Kelly Hsu


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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