James Stewart stars as a railroad man hired to secretly carry a payroll despite his suspected connections to outlaws
Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan star in this updated version of the 1976 family favourite about a mother and daughter swapping bodies for the day
Anyone easily irritated by teenybopper pop should beware: the soundtrack to the new Freaky Friday is crammed with wall-to-wall bouncy tunes. There's even a vaguely unwelcome performance of teen star Lindsay Lohan's debut single 'Ultimate' over the end credits. But if you navigate around the minor annoyances, this reworking of the 1976 Jodie Foster classic is a cut above the usual Hollywood remakes.
Bringing a modern edge to the story while still remaining faithful to the original (based on the novel by Mary Rodgers), Freaky Friday follows the turbulent relationship between psychologist Dr Tess Coleman (Curtis) and her teenage daughter Anna (Lohman, who also starred in Disney's 1998 remake of The Parent Trap). Whether it's Tess' upcoming wedding or Anna's musical ambitions, they've always got something to argue about. Then a pair of magical fortune cookies initiates an unexpected body-swap, and they're forced to live one another's lives.
Despite the potential for sentiment, the witty screenplay keeps the heartwarming aspects from overwhelming the story, evenly balancing the humour between teen gags and adult comedy. The most notable plot addition is a beautifully convoluted love triangle between Tess, Anna, and Jake (Murray) - Anna's latest school crush. The sequence where Anna finally gets to go on a date with the boy of her dreams (while wearing her mother's body) manages to be both amusing and bizarrely charming, as well as being a fine showcase for Jamie Lee Curtis' performance.
Kicking up a storm as the teenager trapped in an adult body, the 43-year-old actress hasn't been this energetic in years. Whether slouching moodily, teasing Anna's ten-year-old brother or recoiling in horror at the idea of kissing her fiancé, she stops short of toppling into parody and gives the film an edge of realism. Meanwhile Lohan does a respectable job as Anna and projects a convincing level of adult outrage when portraying the mother trapped in the teenage body.
What should have been a bland Disney remake has somehow ended up as the most satisfying family comedy for a long time. Fun, breezy entertainment, it breaks little new ground, but gives the original Freaky Friday a considerable run for its money.
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