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Freaky Friday (PG)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Music video 'What I Like Most About You' by Lillix; Music video 'Me Vs. The World' by Halo Friendlies; Bloopers; Deleted scenes; Alternate endings; Backstage pass with Lindsay Lohan.

THE family movie gets another saccharine overload in Freaky Friday, an overly sweet remake of the 1976 film, which starred Barbara Harris and a young Jodie Foster.

The squabbling mother and daughter in question this time, however, are Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, who suddenly find themselves inhabiting each other’s bodies, after a particularly freaky Friday.

But while it is certainly humorous in places, the movie struggles to escape the feel of one of those mundane, mid-afternoon US TV sitcoms that crop up every now and again, in which everything feels contrived and almost every joke is obvious.

Curtis portrays hard-working mother, Dr Tess Coleman, who seldom sees eye-to-eye with her hip, 15-year-old daughter, Anna (Lohan) over anything from dress sense and hair styles to music and men.

When their bickering eventually gets out of control, during a harmless outing to a Chinese restaurant, one of its patrons tampers with a fortune cookie and brings about the transformation, so that when the two women awake the following morning, they find themselves trapped in each other’s bodies until they can resolve their differences.

Hence, ‘mom’ gets packed off to school, to excel in class and repel the advances of her daughter’s motorbike-riding love interest, while daughter is left to cope with the good doctor’s patients, while staving off the amorous intentions of her soon-to-be step-father (Mark Harmon), whom she doesn’t particularly get on with anyway.

Given its PG-rating, Freaky Friday sets its stall out as an old-fashioned, traditional family comedy from the outset and attracted strong Box Office when it opened in America during the Summer season.

Yet its charms are largely restricted to innocent teenagers, or worldly-wise mothers, who may find some common ground in its timeless look at the nature of such relationships, while proving irksome to anyone else they may take along.

Performance-wise, Curtis appears to be having fun letting herself go, particularly when called upon to ‘rock out’ during the latter stages, while Lohman provides an appealing, and not too pretentious, teenager. Harmon, too, rises above the obvious genre cliches to appear quite likeable throughout.

The inevitably slushy finale, in which mother and daughter come to understand each other’s feelings and frustrations, is also quite nicely played, without tugging at the heart-strings too much, while the odd moment is likely to stir something more than just a smile.

It’s just that, while Freaky Friday will, no doubt, appeal to its target audience, the contrived nature of much of its early work, coupled with the fact that it’s simply not as funny as it thinks it is, consistently threatens to mar what fun there is. Harmless, then, but tedious to boot!

 

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