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Overall Rating
4.2

Awesome: 32.94%
Worth A Look58.82%
Average: 5.88%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 2.35%

5 reviews, 55 user ratings


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Freaky Friday (2003)
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by Collin Souter

"The freakiest thing about this movie is that I actually kinda liked it"
4 stars

I remember watching the original “Freaky Friday” a lot when I was a kid. I remember not having a VCR yet, but a friend of mine who had one also had “Freaky Friday” in one of those big bulky video boxes that Disney started out with (in BETA, mind you). I liked that movie even if the plot seemed a bit too dumb, even for an 8-year old. Remember how the mother and daughter switched bodies in the original? They simply wished the other to see the world through their eyes, and—POOF!—they switched. No magic potions or fortune cookies. They simply wished (and for those of you who may not remember, the Disney theme song before “When you wish upon a buck” was “When you wish upon a star,” and boy did they run with it!).

With the remake, we have more of a reason, but as one would expect, it’s a silly reason (magic fortune cookies at a Chinese restaurant). We all know the story behind “Freaky Friday,” mostly because it has been imitated so many times, usually badly. Does anyone remember Kirk Cameron and Dudley Moore in “Like Father, Like Son”? How about Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage in “Vice Versa”? Not until Tom Hanks hit the right note in “Big” did the premise work beautifully (simply take out the switch). So, with a remake of a movie that has been imitated so many times already, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise to find that “Freaky Friday” was never meant for greatness.

But the fact that it manages to achieve goodness seems good enough for me. I enjoyed this movie and I’m surprised that I enjoyed it. Like many of you, I have no need for a body-switching movie any more than I have a need for a comedy with Steve Martin trying to babysit a gaggle of rambunctious 7-year olds in a movie called “Cheaper By the Dozen” (Brace yourselves. It’s happening). “Freaky Friday” gets by on the charm of its two leads, the always-appealing Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsey Lohan (star of another Disney remake, "The Parent Trap").

Of course, they live in the suburbs, have their differences and fight every morning. They have just lost their father/husband and Tess Coleman (Curtis) will soon be marrying a new man, Ryan (Mark Harmon), a good man who just wants the wedding to go well. Daughter Annabell (Lohan) is a typical teenage girl who happens to play in a well-produced and too-tight-to-be-high-school rock band. She dresses Avril Lavigne style and always fires back the favorite retort amongst teens everywhere since the dawn of time: “You’re ruining my life!”

Tess works as a psychiatrist and just published her second self-help book about aging. Along with raising her daughter, she also has a precocious 8-year-old son, Harry (Ryan Malgarini), who provides comic relief for all the young boys in the audience who got dragged to a movie about girls. The fights between Annabell and Harry actually reminded me of how I acted around my two teenage sisters, so I found most of their fighting to be somewhat nostalgic.

As you would expect, the freaky Friday in question has its share of plans made for the day. Annabell wants to audition at the House of Blues (yeah, right) with her band on the same night as Tess’s rehearsal dinner for the wedding. Of course, an important high school placement test will also be taken on this day, as well as a parent/teacher conference with Harry’s teacher. Oh, and of course, Annabell likes a cute guy at school, Jake (Chad Michael Murray), of whom her mother does not approve. How will they manage once they switch bodies? Rather than stay home and try to figure things out, they each agree to leave the house and play themselves as best they can so they can accomplish everything they need to. Of course.

Many predictable situations come up in “Freaky Friday,” and, sure, they may play like a checklist of situations from body-switch movies past, but because of the two leads, I can forgive the grandfather (Harold Gould) sometimes being reduced to a blithering idiot and the ridiculous scene in which Tess/Annabell is suddenly thrust in front of the TV cameras for a live daytime talk show to promote her new book. (Fiance Ryan got her the surprise gig, due to a last-minute cancellation. Sure) I can also forgive the forced and over-the-top way in which Jake suddenly falls way too head-over-heels in love with Tess/Annabell after talking to her at a coffeeshop about The White Stripes and The Ramones.

I can forgive all that because “Freaky Friday” achieves what it wants to and that is to be a family film aimed at families who have fun fighting with each other, can’t communicate with each other and know they love each other anyway. Its message has to do with acts of selfless love in order to gain understanding and respect for others. It is a movie that doesn’t aim to be great, but aims to please a family taking a night out to laugh at their problems. I laughed mostly out of nostalgia for how I acted as a bratty little brother and later as a spiteful and annoyed teenager.

Curtis seems to be having a blast playing the latter and she pulls it off wonderfully. She carries the film with dignity without ever mugging or going over the top. From the way she says “S’up?” to the way she sits at a school desk, Curtis gets everything right. Lohan also carries her own playing the mother post-switch and makes for a good match for Curtis when they have their conflicts.

Perhaps I liked this movie simply because it felt just right after sitting through such bile as “Bad Boys II” and “Gigli.” Perhaps I liked it because it took my mind off some serious, pressing matters in my life at the moment. Whatever the case, “Freaky Friday” worked for me and I imagine it will work for parents who want to take their kids to a good, clean, harmless movie. Yes, it’s silly, a bit cartoonish and at times hopelessly far-fetched even without the body-switch, but what would you expect from any movie called “Freaky Friday”? I didn’t expect it to be good, for one thing.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8064&reviewer=233
originally posted: 08/09/03 16:36:05
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell fun imo 4 stars
8/02/14 roger Jamie Lee Curtis enjoys it much more than the audience 3 stars
9/22/11 Millie Maelstrom If world were fair, Lindsay Lohan would be winning Oscars & Jodie Foster in&out of rehab. 5 stars
11/28/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
5/16/08 PAUL SHORTT DOESNT OFFER MUCH IN THE WAY OF NEW INSIGHTS INTO THIS MOST PECULIAR OF SUBGENRES 1 stars
10/17/07 Beau It was really enjoyable, much better remake and great cast to top it off!! nice work!! 5 stars
11/16/06 David Pollastrini Lindsay Lohan is hot! 5 stars
10/05/06 Stanley Thai A very good remake. You don't get that a lot these days. 4 stars
4/02/06 JRE not bad 3 stars
2/09/06 cathy it is so fabulous! i love it! 5 stars
12/24/05 moolataafongoriannshonternon leviosaton ttly awesome 5 stars
6/30/05 John Ay Entertaining 3 stars
6/27/05 dan awesome, lindsay is so hot 5 stars
6/05/05 Charlene Javier Excellent! Lindsay and Jamie rocks! 5 stars
6/04/05 Mike Jozic Surprisingly competent remake. Lohan & Curtis do a great job. 4 stars
6/03/05 Christy Schultz Way funny 4 stars
6/03/05 deadwiz Fun family film, plus its got lindsay lohan in it. That helps. 4 stars
5/23/05 Jim Decent fluff, picks up steam as it goes along 4 stars
5/13/05 Jennifer Regan This movie is hilarious! 4 stars
9/20/04 Valerie This movie is great, much better than the original. 5 stars
8/01/04 valerie hart gr8 family fun and a gr8 startin performance by lohan !!! 5 stars
6/25/04 Arse Poet Not as bad as I predicted. Not a great movie, but not bad, considering it's a kiddie film. 4 stars
5/07/04 Ross Great movie. I love J. Curtis 5 stars
2/20/04 aubrey i loved Chad Michael Murray, he's so damn hot 4 stars
2/19/04 KingNeutron Both actresses were excellent. JLC is still Teh Hottay! :) 5 stars
2/08/04 Nicola Hutton Exerlent 5 stars
1/24/04 JohnnyXXX a movie that you can watch over and over again 5 stars
1/23/04 Chloe Brody Both mother and daughter were cast brilliantly! 4 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Very likable, well-acted Disney comedy. 5 stars
1/06/04 monica a good family film 4 stars
1/06/04 Natasha Theobald I can't believe how funny and enjoyable this was. 4 stars
1/04/04 ari it was cute, a great mother/daughter bonding film 3 stars
1/01/04 Phil M. Aficionado I suggest you read Sott Weinberg's review; I. too. found it enjoyable, at about 3.6 stars 4 stars
1/01/04 ROY L. CAIN,JR. Too preachy and stiff. Stick with the Jodie Foster version. 3 stars
12/30/03 Chris A great addition to the disney collection if perhaps alittle too raunchy. 4 stars
11/23/03 smartmusician Better than what I expected 4 stars
10/15/03 here a good film 4 stars
10/11/03 Joana This movie was da bomb 5 stars
10/08/03 courtney h. i loved the movie and i love her@ 5 stars
10/05/03 ERIN SO COOL 5 stars
9/25/03 tina I absolutely loved it. Way better than what I thought it would be 4 stars
9/13/03 Bill Better than the original for music, acting, script, dialogue... 4 stars
9/11/03 Dottie Hubbard I thought it was a hoot! A real 'fun' movie that is thoroughly entertaining. 5 stars
9/08/03 lindsen It was greeeeeaaaatttt! i loved it sooooo much! i hope i get to buy it! 5 stars
8/30/03 jada better than expected, actors really good 4 stars
8/29/03 SPH I loved it, my kids loved it!! 5 stars
8/28/03 Joey OH MY GOD 1 stars
8/16/03 MEEE great film 5 stars
8/16/03 Kyle Smith Great Movie! 5 stars
8/16/03 bigfan lindsey lohan is so hot 5 stars
8/12/03 maigne interesting 5 stars
8/11/03 Jenn a great mother-daughter movie, kept me laughing the whole way through! 5 stars
8/10/03 Red a great film 5 stars
8/09/03 Beth Maxey Pleasantly surprised, helped me look at things from 15yr old daughter's view. Well done! 5 stars
8/07/03 Redpajammas I thought this was a very cute movie; kept me laughing from beginning to end! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Aug-2003 (PG)
  DVD: 16-Dec-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-Sep-2003




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