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Freaky Friday

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Freaky Friday

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan
Director: Mark Waters
Rated: PG
RunTime: 101 Minutes
Release Date: August 2003
Genres: Comedy, Kids, Family

*Also starring: Harold Gould, Janet Choi, Chad Murray, Mark Harmon, Cayden Boyd, Michael Lohan, Danny Rubin, Julie Gonzalo, Ryan Malgarini

Review by Steve Rhodes
3½ stars out of 4

In FREAKY FRIDAY, Lindsay Lohan, playing her second switching part in a Disney remake, manages to be even cuter than she was in THE PARENT TRAP. It may be hard to properly ascertain the relative artistic merits of a drama, but, for comedies, my metric is straightforward: How much did it make me laugh? By that simple yardstick, FREAKY FRIDAY is a huge success, since I laughed long, hard, loud and often as did the rest of our enthusiastic audience.

The setup for the plot has Tess Coleman (Jamie Lee Curtis) temporally trading bodies with her fifteen-year-old daughter Anna (Lohan), thanks to an older Chinese woman who wants them to appreciate each other's trials and tribulations. Tess is a therapist with a classic type A personality, who is about to remarry after the death of her husband a few years ago. Her purse is packed with electronic communication devices, which she use two and three at a time. She feels the need to actively manage her daughter's life as intensely as she does her own. "Make good choices!" Tess shouts to Anna on her way into school before they swap identities.

In contrast to her perfectionist mother, Anna is a detention regular, whose life is one disaster after another. Her little brother Harry (Ryan Malgarini) harasses her continually but secretly, making Tess think that it's all Anna's fault.

Once they switch places, the two actresses are amazing. Each has the speech patterns and body language of the other down perfectly. And the lines they are given to say to each other are so priceless that it's hard not to mimic them out loud in a crowded theater and thus annoy everyone seated near you. The physical comedy is hilarious as well. One glimpse of his mother -- Anna in Tess's body -- in a thong makes Harry grimace with a look that his life will be scarred forever. And the mere thought of having to romantically kiss one's future stepfather is enough to make Anna, in Tess's body, think "Yuck!"

What is surprising, in addition to the depth, consistency and freshness of the comedy, is how insightful and downright touching many of the scenes turn out to be. Curtis and Lohan have great chemistry together and have much to offer the audiences in terms of humor and messages. If you have child or a parent, see it with them. The movie will not only be entertaining; it will also leave you with lots to ponder afterwards about how hard the other person's life is.

FREAKY FRIDAY runs 1:40. It is rated PG for "mild thematic elements and some language" and would be a great choice for all ages.

In his body, not mine, my son Jeffrey, age 14, gave the film *** 1/2. He loved the casting, the story and the humor. He liked the way that Lohan sang one of the songs and thought that she and Curtis were terrific. (For the record, I think his life would be pretty hard, no matter how much grief I give him about cleaning his room and other stuff. I'm not up to swapping bodies with him.)

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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