Freaky Friday
3 out of 5 stars
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Remaking a beloved 1976 comedy, which starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris, is a risky thing but Disney has managed to do it with style. This is a hilarious and knowing modern family comedy. Tess (Curtis) is a frazzled psychologist trying to cope with her surly 15-year-old daughter Anna (Lohan), her precocious 10-year-old son Harry (Malgarini) and her impending wedding to the incredibly nice Ryan (Harmon). Anna wants to be a rock star like her dead father, is always in trouble in school and has a crush on the mysterious-gorgeous Jake (Murray). Mother and daughter don't understand each other at all, and after a particularly nasty verbal battle, an old Chinese woman (Soong) puts a hex on them that makes them exchange bodies and walk in each other's shoes until they learn some selflessness. But Anna has an important band audition on Friday night ... and Tess and Ryan are getting married on Saturday. So they'd better hurry!

While maintaining the classic Disney family comedy genre--wacky slapstick and lively characters--the filmmakers somehow keep things grounded enough to make the film a thoroughly engaging romp. Curtis and Lohan shine in their roles, bringing layers of comedy, drama, romance and, yes, sentiment just when needed most. Curtis hasn't been this good in years, drawing brilliantly on the child within her; while the still-young Lohan is a constant surprise. These are finely tuned performances that catch subtleties that are hilariously silly and sharply telling at the same time. Meanwhile, the men stumble benignly around the edges of the story, which makes a nice switch from the usual state of affairs in these kinds of films! They're just here to provide funny and/or touching counterpoints. This is a rare remake that updates the original film cleverly and inventively. It's also a rare family comedy with the skill to engage both adults and kids, keeping us laughing and then drawing us in closely enough that we feel an emotional pang at the end.

cert PG some adult themes 30.Sep.03

dir Mark Waters
scr Heather Hach, Leslie Dixon
with Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Chad Michael Murray, Ryan Malgarini, Harold Gould, Stephen Tobolowsky, Christina Vidal, Haley Hudson, Rosalind Chao, Lucille Soong, Willie Garson
release US 6.Aug.03; UK 19.Dec.03
03/US 1h37

Look who got up on the wrong side of the bed: Lohan and Curtis.

curtis lohan harmon
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall