Disney remakes yet another of their classic children's films, "Freaky Friday", the classic from 1976 starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris is redone into this entertaining and funny remake starring the immensely talented duo of Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Now, I'm against any sort of remake whether it be for a terrible film, or especially a remake of a classic, and I was very skeptical, unwilling even, to give this a chance, but I was pleasantly surprised. After hearing nothing but good things about this, declaring the good buzz as mere hype, I found the rumors to be true.
In this version Jamie Lee Curtis
plays Tess Coleman, an uptight, strict, and anal mother
After the two fight in a Chinese restaurant, they're given fortune cookies by a mischievous old waitress who tells them to break them open which leads to an shattering Earthquake no one has felt except them. The next morning they get one heck of a surprise as Tess wakes up in Anna's body and Anna wakes up in Tess' body. Terrified, frantic, and shocked, the two manage to make a deal and live each other's lives until they can figure out how to switch back, and in the process the two learn to understand the other's life, friends, and situations while becoming ever closer.
Now, I can just say I'm just shocked, shocked for being so wrong, and shocked at how good this film was. After her self-imposed hiatus in acting Lindsay Lohan makes a welcome return into filmmaking, older, better, and hotter, she is one of the many high points in this superior remake. The writing is just great. What happens in "Freaky Friday" is that writers Heather Hach, and Leslie Dixon manage to take a creaky wheeled comedy and make it fresh, of course modernizing it, but also create a cast of genuinely likable characters that people will love.
What propels this film into the entertaining aspect is the relationships between the cast of characters. Tess is the stereotypical anal retentive mother, but Curtis instills a strong sense of power and determination into her character giving her more dimensions beyond the concept of the strict uptight mother. Curtis can act, which is a plus, so when she's being annoying to the character of Anna, she's never really annoying to the audience.
We know she's strict, and we know she's anal but Curtis makes it look as if there is a method to her madness. Lindsay Lohan plays the cliché whiny dramatic rebellious daughter but instills a sense of originality and innovation into the character of Anna. Lohan is very charming, very charismatic and a very talented actress, and I can't wait to see when she breaks into mature films, but until then she sparkles in this.
Lohan was great in "Parent Trap" and she's great in this. There was not one character in this that I hated. Even Anna's bratty brother Harry is actually amusing and funny. Her eccentric grandfather played with great comedic timing by Harold Gould, Anna's love interesting Jake played by the often good Chad Michael Murray who plays the brooding blonde love interest. Nonetheless his gimmicky character is spread beyond one-dimension too and Murray gives a sense of personality. Even Mark Harmon is very good as Tess' boyfriend Ryan who is very passive struggling to remain non-partial.
The task at hand? For the two actresses to take their massive generation gaps and combine them. They must imitate each other to show that their bodies have switched and Lohan and Curtis show why they're so talented. It was stunning because Lohan and Curtis simply perfect each other's personalities, their facial expressions, tone of voices, and best of all, their mannerisms.
Curtis and Lohan never look like they're just doing an exaggerated impersonation, they actually look as if they've concentrated in mimicking one another, and they create a very interesting chemistry on-screen with one another. Curtis is great as Anna and is just hilarious, especially in the opening scenes to which she goes crazy at how much she's aged, while Lohan is great pretending to be Tess showing her anal quirks, uptight mannerisms. and speech, sounding exactly how Curtis would.
What's great is that even pretending to be one another, Curtis and Lohan have a lot of chemistry and play off one another, they're quirky quick dialogue, hilarious one-liners, and opposite pairing is just great to watch. Their switch also sets up for some of the funniest scenes in the film including their first attempt at switching where they crash into one another, Anna's discovery of her brother's fondness for her, the grandfather's constant outbursts ala "Arsenic and Old Lace", and the best, the climactic scene where Anna (Tess) must perform on-stage. This is just one of the best remakes to come around in years and one of the funniest.
Now while Curtis'
character does get to see how hard Lohan's characters life is, we're never
given a real glimpse into how Lohan's character sees her moms life.
There's the usual and awfully tiresome montage where the character is
being made over and tries on
There's a few humorous sequences involving Lohan dealing with her mom's patients, and then must go to her brother's school for the inevitable touching sequence, but after the focus is barely on Curtis' life we may be inclined to wonder that maybe Curtis' life isn't as hard as she says, that maybe she's just a crabby witch who wants to make her children's lives miserable. Either way it's a shame we never got to see a whole lot. Then there was a lot of rumors about how Curtis should have gotten an Oscar for her performance to which I reply "Whoa, whoa! Let's not go crazy here!" The movie is good for what it is, but it's hardly Oscar worthy, I think them entertainment media are a bit trigger happy and loose with their words, no?
Did I mention the cheesy ending? I probably should have. There's a touching but gag worthy scene in which Lohan now in her body toasts her stepdad to be talking about how hard it was to lose her real father, when we barely heard from the sucker, nor do we ever really see a picture. Would it have been so bad as to devote one scene to how Lohan's character felt about her father? No, not really, it would have been much appreciated because we would have seen why she holds such animosity towards her stepfather-to-be. Regardless the toast scene is cheesy as is the wedding scene which leads to the two young lovebirds (Lohan, Murray) being united, exchanging some dialogue, and kissing. Okay, okay, we get it, don't press your luck, can we move on to the credits now?
While occasionally fluffy and cheesy and just brainless, this is a very
good, very well-acted and laugh out loud funny remake. The acting is
top-notch all around while the relationships between the characters are
surely something worth watching. Worthy of the hype and worthy of renting.