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Rated 2.98 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Switcheroo Works Again
by Betty Jo Tucker

Will it take a miracle to make an uptight mom and her rebellious teenage daughter understand one another? That's just what happens in Freaky Friday, a surprisingly entertaining re-make of the 1976 comedy starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster. This time Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan portray the mother and daughter who are magically transferred into each other's bodies -- and both actresses have a ball with these comic roles.

Yes, Harris and Foster are tough acts to follow. But Curtis (True Lies) and Lohan (The Parent Trap) rise to the occasion. Lohan impressed me the most with her authoritative voice and dignified manner after changing into her mother. I had no trouble at all accepting her as a true adult. No wonder she astonished her friends and little brother (Ryan Malgarini, a real find) with such incongruous behavior. To me, Lohan outshines Curtis here, but that doesn't take anything away from Curtis's performance. She's very funny during her stint as an energetic teenager; her eyes simply sparkle in a sequence involving a TV interview about the mother's new book. (If you've never had to wing it in a TV interview, consider yourself lucky. In my last one, I was so nervous I called the interviewer by the wrong name.)

Who has the hardest time getting through each day -- the busy mother or her musically-obsessed daughter? Freaky Friday  reveals the frustrations of both in a series of hilarious situations. Dr. Tess Coleman (Curtis), a widowed psychiatrist about to marry again, faces all the problems associated with taking care of her two children and her job while getting ready for a wedding rehearsal dinner. Anna (Lohan), her 15-year-old daughter, is upset about spending so much time in detention, thanks to an unfair English teacher and an old friend who has it out for her. She's also having difficulty connecting with the hunky classmate (Chad Murray) she has a crush on. But Anna's most serious crisis develops when she must choose between attending her mother's rehearsal dinner or performing with her band at a to-die-for gig.      

Watching the mother and daughter bicker loudly in a restaurant, an impish manager (Lucille Soong) takes pity on them. She insists they each take a seemingly harmless fortune cookie. The following morning, Tess finds herself trapped in Anna's body and vice versa. And then the fun begins! Up to this point, Freaky Friday annoyed me a bit with its frantic household scenes. Am I the only one getting fed up with movies depicting spoiled teenagers fighting with their younger siblings?

Nevertheless, that's a minor complaint, considering the heartwarming humor in the rest of this flick -- as well as the opportunity to see handsome Mark Harmon (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), who plays the world's most accommodating groom-to-be, back on the big screen.     

Naturally, there's a happy ending. Tess and Anna's body swapping has enabled each of them to solve important problems for the other and they have learned to be less selfish. When things return to normal, they realize how much they love and respect each other. One could only wish a miracle like that for mothers and daughters everywhere.

Available beginning December 16 (2003), the DVD from Walt Disney Home Entertainment includes a number of fun features including a tour of the movie set by Lindsay Lohan, a reel of goofs and missed takes, two music videos (catch Jamie Lee Curtis rocking out on that guitar!), and a peek at two alternate endings with director Mark Waters explaining why they were shot and why they didn't make the final cut.

(Released by Buena Vista and rated "PG" for mild thematic elements and some language.) 

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