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Freaky Friday /

Rated: PG

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Chad Murray, Stephen Tobolowsky
Directed by: Mark S. Waters
Produced by: Andrew Gunn
Written by: Mary Rodgers
Distributor: Walt Disney

 

     Letís face it, movie-wise, this summer sucks. I refuse to blame it on all of the stupid teenage boys who are hungry for crazy action pictures, girls that love chick-flicks, or even those comic-book geeks, awaiting adaptations of their favorite superheroesí stories to come to life. I believe that the reason that Iíve seen so many bad films lately is because theyíve been targeted at specific, tiny, target audiences. I will enjoy a movie that I seem every now and then, because Iím a member of one of these targets. This way of making and marketing motion pictures isnít going to change anytime soon, either; the works of most moviemakers are racking in enormous amounts of cash at the box office. Before Freaky Friday, I felt hopelessóalmost every movie of the summer I had gone to before it had been a waste of time.

     This movie puts the Ďfamilyí back into the family films. Iíve said this many times before about other flicks of this nature, but I wonít hesitate to repeat myself. Freaky Friday has something for every member of the family.  Just by viewing the previews, I knew that women and girls would adore it, simply because the material is right up their alley.  But what really surprised me, is that even the most straight-faced, maniac men and boys will like it, too. I donít think that anyone will be able to resist the hilarious sense of humor that the writing in Freaky Friday offers, males in particular, very strangely. If your family has already seen the treasures of two months ago, Whale Rider and Finding Nemo, this movie is definitely the one to spend a night at the local multiplex viewing.

     A remake of the 1976 film by Gary Nelson, which starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris, this try at Freaky Friday is remarkably fresh, considering the circumstances. The story, albeit predictable, successfully executes the now not-so-normal body-swapping formula. Fifteen year-old Anna (Lindsey Lohan) is, nowadays, considered a version of your typical teenage girl. Sheís in a rock band, lives in a suburban neighborhood, has a good group of friend, and thinks her life is everything but perfect. Sheís got a crazy, hyper little brother (Ryan Malgarini) bugging her all the time, and she and her mom, Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis), are always constantly arguing. Anna thinks that Tess has the perfect life, and Tess thinks the same about Anna. Itís going to take a tiny bit more than communication for the two to begin to understand each other.

     This understanding begins to rapidly increase after a family dinner, two days before Tessís wedding, where she will be marrying for the second time.  After having an argument at the Chinese restaurant Anna and Tess eating dinner at, with three others, they are given a pair of all-powerful fortune cookies. The message inside of both of them says exactly the same thing. After reading it, Anna and Tess think that the ground is shaking for a moment, and that has just been an earthquake. However, no one else in the restaurant felt a thing. At 12AM that night, in their sleep, Anna and Tess magically switch bodies. The fortune cookies that they both ate brought this upon them. The employee at the restaurant who gave them to Anna and Tess saw them arguing, and intentionally did this, by giving the fortune cookies to them. Until the two can find a way to switch back, Anna will have to experience life in Tessís shoes, and Tess will have to do so in Annaís. They will finally be able to discover, for themselves, how the otherís life feels, on a day-to-day basis.

     While Curtis will take most of the credit for her performance in Freaky Friday, and is undoubtedly good, I truly feel that Lohan is the best in this movie. Her way of mimicking (and often mocking) the body-language, emotions, expressions, and methods of talking of mothers and middle-aged women is hilarious, and if I do say so myself, pretty damn accurate. The word to define Lohanís work is ambitious. We never feel as though sheís hesitant, or holding back, in any frame of the film. She, obviously, has a fondness for acting in remakes, also starring in 1998ís The Parent Trap. I would assume performing in this type of movie is easier than original, new ones, but I could be wrong. It could be very difficult for an actor/actress to find a new, fresh way to play a character thatís already done beforeóif you look at it that way. Iím awaiting Lohanís next movie Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, not because I have any interest in the subject matter (nor will I ever), but because I want to see if she actually has as much talent as I think 

      This version of Freaky Friday really is the same movie as the original, at heart, even though some massive changes have been madeóto keep it modern, and such. Itís not great, but as far as movies go these days, itís superb family fun. I admire the two leadsí work, and can say, they really make this the film that it is. Freaky Friday was a real freaky surprise (how much more cornier can I get, right?). Definitely worth a watch in theatres, this one is about as entertaining as they come. At any rate, go and see it.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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