Main cast: Jamie Lee Curtis (Tess Coleman), Lindsay Lohan (Anna Coleman), Mark Harmon (Ryan), Harold Gould (Grandpa), and Chad Michael Murray (Jake)
Director: Mark S Waters
“Oh great, another Disney remake of an old movie,” I mutter as I sit down to watch Freaky Friday. A remake of the 1977 movie of same name, this time around Jamie Lee Curtis plays the role initially played by Barbara Harris while Lindsay Lohan, no stranger to remakes as she starred in the remake of The Parent Trap, plays the role originally played by Jodie Foster. Needless to say, Ms Lohan has the most thankless role here as there will be inevitable comparisons between her and Jodie Foster, but I must say Ms Lohan acquits herself nicely. In fact, this movie is easily one of the most heartwarming mother-daughter movies I’ve seen in quite a while.
Fifteen-year old Anna Coleman is always at odds with her mother Tess. She wants to be a rock star while Tess is the prim and proper psychiatrist that likes everything in its proper place and order. Making the tense situation between mother and daughter worse is Anna’s resentment about Tess going to remarry again. One day, when Tess’s future hubby Ryan takes them to dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Tess and Annabell can’t wait to bicker. The meddlesome restaurant owner’s mother decides to give the both of them a magical fortune cookie each that allows them to switch bodies.
Watching this movie proves that be it 1977 or 2003, the relationship between a rebellious teenage daughter and her exasperated mother will never change. Only this time, each of them finally gets the chance to live in each other’s lives. While the predictable result is the both of them finally realizing just how much they have misunderstood each other and it’s time to make up and all, getting there is the best fun Freaky Friday has to offer. The star of the movie is Jamie Lee Curtis, who lets down her hair and play a teenager with cheerful abandon. From her credible pseudo-romance with her daughter’s crush Jake (which is actually quite bittersweet rather than creepy, really) to her playing an electric guitar with style, she’s a delight to watch. Lindsay Lohan mostly has to put on her most icy expression and act stiff-lipped, but when she has to deliver the penultimate scene where she toasts her mother’s upcoming wedding, she succeeds wonderfully.
While the body-switched antics are amusing, the feel-good drama that is the healing of the mother-daughter bond is what makes me love this movie. Sure, the movie can be corny, but it works. I can relate to this movie both as a daughter and a mother, and even if the climax scene is pretty much overly sentimental pap, the two main lead actresses put on a really credible and even heartfelt performances that make me sigh and even cry.
It is pretty pointless to compare this movie up to the 1977 version, because this movie can hold itself up on its own merits very well. For no-nonsense feel-good fun, Freaky Friday brings it home all the way.