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Freaky Friday (2003)

Every teenager’s nightmare…turning into her mother

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 93 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

Body-swap comedies are two-a-penny in Movie Land, but it’s tough to criticise their ever-recurring appearance on the billboards when you come across one that’s as genuinely enjoyable as ‘Freaky Friday’.

After buying your ticket for this one, check your sense of originality at the door, because a change in formula isn’t what this is about. In fact, it’s a remake (and not the first one, either) of Disney’s 1976 flick of the same name, which had mother Barbara Harris switching places with daughter Jodie Foster.

With that in mind, I went into this one thinking a nice idea would have been to bring back Foster, this time as the mother, and turn it into a sequel. Of course I was wrong, because that would have meant missing out on the terrific performance here from Jamie Lee Curtis as the single mom who, despite being a respected shrink, just can’t understand teenage daughter Lindsay Lohan.

How the two end up undergoing the old switcheroo seems almost superfluous but, in case you’re wondering, it involves a mad old Chinese restaurateur supplying them with magical fortune cookies. Is there any other way?

The usual brand of mayhem follows as mother goes about her daily business in daughter’s body and vice-versa, and there’s not much going on in the way of surprises. But what lifts this movie above the average is some great writing from Heather Hach (who has a cameo role as the school gym teacher) and Leslie Dixon (whose previous screenplay credits include ‘Overboard’ and ‘Mrs Doubtfire’). Combined with the vibrant displays of the two leads, it makes for a funny and surprisingly sincere family comedy.

It's Got: The least convincing pretending-to-be-a-musician scene since the halcyon days of the mighty Milli Vanilli.

It Needs: For someone to alert the authorities to what’s going on at that Chinese restaurant.


Probably the best body-swap comedy since 'Big', and it certainly wipes the floor with the dismal 'The Hot Chick' from earlier this year.