Disney remake of Freaky Friday is a blast.
Thursday, August 7, 2003
Disney''s original Freaky Friday (1976) remains a fond memory in many people''s minds, so it''s appropriate that this modern update falls into that rare category of respectable remakes. Dr. Tess Coleman (Jamie Lee Curtis, A Fish Called Wanda) is a widowed mother of two children, busy preparing for her upcoming wedding while her 15-year-old, guitar-loving daughter Anna (Lindsay Lohan) has to fight tooth and nail for every scrap of dignity that she can get. Things get exceedingly tricky when a spell-casting matron at a Chinese restaurant intercedes between the bickering mother and daughter to impose a role reversal that puts the two on opposite equal footing. This sincere and fun-loving comedy hits all the right notes with a great soundtrack and comic bits.
Anna has a full plate of problems. She needs more sleep, her little brother is a pest, and her rock band "Pink Slip" desperately needs a gig. On top of all this, her mom is about to marry Mr. Milquetoast from Albuquerque (Mark Harmon). But Anna''s mom won''t listen to any excuses. Tess Coleman is a hotshot shrink with a new book--note the book''s slyly referential cover and title, Through The Looking Glass, Senescence In Retrograde. Tess is crossing a line in middle age when sex gets a low priority. But Tess'' new-age-matron shoes get considerably tighter when she awakens to find herself in her daughter''s body.
Freaky Friday works perfectly as a mental gymnastic comedic exercise. There''s a satisfying thrill in imagining and seeing a 45-year-old woman struggle in the body of her 15-year-old daughter and vice versa. When Anna, in Tess'' body, looks in her wallet for the first time since the change over, she regards her credit cards as perfect tools for self-expression. Her makeover-shopping spree pays off when she has to go on a television talk show to promote her stuffy book.
It took the collaboration of screenwriters Heather Hach and Leslie Dixon to create the synergy of opposing wills that find Anna reassessing her mother''s choice in husband material, and Tess taking a closer look at her daughter''s incipient sexuality. The movie dares to do a neat tight rope act with Anna''s romantic interest Jake (Chad Michael Murray), carrying his attraction for Anna over into some serious flirting with her in the older body of Tess. This little subplot fantasy gives a nod to middle-aged women in the audience who will get a saucy giggle at the sight of young guy smitten with female maturity.
Director Mark Waters (The House Of Yes) keeps a strong emphasis on the film''s feel-good music, which includes up-tempo versions of "What A Wonderful World" (performed by Joey Ramone) and "What I Like About You" (performed by Lillix). But it''s Anna''s band that steals the show, affecting completely the exuberance of a teen pop rock band.
Freaky Friday [3 stars]
Directed by: Mark Waters
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Chad Michael Murray.
Rated PG, 97 mins.