|Freaky Friday (2003)|
|Written by Mel Odom|
|Tuesday, 16 December 2003|
Although offering nothing really new in the ages-old miscommunication and lack of mutual understanding between mothers and daughters, as well as being a remake of an earlier movie, “Freaky Friday” delivers an enjoyable take on the issue and on the role-reversal plot device that has become something of a standard, in one form or another, of teen movies. In 2003, Disney Studios came in second place for the most box office proceeds, and “Freaky Friday” got the nod for being a major contributor to that ranking.
Dr. Tess Coleman (Jamie Lee Curtis), widow and mother of two, has found a man she believes she can share the rest of her life with. Unfortunately, she’s stressed out by the wedding plans and her job as a psychiatric counselor. Anna (Lindsay Lohan), her teenage daughter, struggles daily with school where deals with a rival, an English teacher with an obvious grudge, trying to keep her rock band together, and getting to meet one of the hottest guys in school. Both women arrive at major turning points in their lives and, through a bit of magic, end up having to face those turning points in each other’s bodies.
Chapter 1 introduces the viewer to the two Coleman women as they crash through their harried lives. The music score for Tess and Anna deliberately separates them for the audience, offering the same song done with different speeds to elaborate the differences between the two, while at the same time showing how busy they both are. After getting into a confrontation while getting up and around, Tess and Anna argue over their different wants and needs. Anna gets off to a terrible day when her rival, Stacy, comes up and gives her mom the saccharine sweet “congratulations on your big day” speech, then finds out she’s wearing the same “unique” shirt as another girl that day, and gets noticed by a guy she’s crushing on during a totally geeky moment.
Tess’s day turns out just as horrible while she tries to juggle work and arranging her wedding. The explosions of her tires as she rolls her car through an exit protected by spikes rips through the subwoofer and cascades through the surround sound system, offering a rather jarring assault on the senses after such a gentle start. Horns blare around her as other drivers honk their displeasure.
Anna continues to have a bad day when her English teacher gives her first a bad grade, then detention when Anna tries to argue her side. Tess confronts a clingy patient who wants to have access to her as a counselor even over her honeymoon. Later, the rock music drives the volleyball game Anna competes in at school, rocking the house through the surround sound system and promising all the fun that is coming as the storylines converge. Stacy hammers Anna with the volleyball even though they’re on the same team. When Anna takes her revenge on the girl, she’s sent to detention again. Tess has a humorous encounter on the phone in the supermarket while doing the shopping. Later, Anna gets to meet Jake (Chad Michael Murray), her crush, and the thud of her book bag hitting the floor slams through the subwoofer.
Chapter 2 opens with Anna’s confrontation with her little brother in her room, then bumps right into the rock music practice session that hammers the surround sound system. Tess’s arrival home gets crazy as both her father (Harold Gould) and her fiancé (Mark Harmon) get there, as well as her son’s friends. Anna’s guitar solo screams through the system. Fireworks start as Tess finds out about the day Anna had a school and Anna finds out there is an opportunity to play at a club. However, the chance to play at the club comes on the same Friday as Tess’s wedding rehearsal dinner. The situation goes ballistic as Tess removes Anna’s bedroom door. The two women try to talk, but neither of them truly understands the other. The screams of Anna and her little brother shriek through the surround sound system, which will delight younger viewers.
In Chapter 3, the family goes to a favorite Chinese restaurant. Tess and Anna have another confrontation in the restaurant, drawing the attention of the mother and daughter who own the restaurant, as well as several other patrons. Violin music flows through the surround sound system. The rattle of the beaded curtain as they walk through echoes through the surround sound system. The earthquake that takes place as the magic spell begins reverberates through the subwoofer and detonates through the surround sound system. No one apart from Tess and Anna notices the earthquake. The Chinese gong ringing hangs in the air and promises dire events to follow. Later, while Tess and Anna are sleeping, the spell’s magic flares to life with strange music.
Waking up in each other’s bodies the next morning in Chapter 4, Tess and Anna freak out. Tess, in Anna’s body, howls in terror. Then little brother Harry comes in and tells her that their mother is dead, which is really only Anna sleeping in her mom’s body. Tess still has to resort to dire measures to wake Anna, replaying the opening scenes. Their immediate efforts to switch bodies are hilarious, as well as their attempts not to let Harry know what is going on. The blackmail begins as they realize they have to act as each other at least for the day, each of them threatening to dress in an unacceptable manner for the other.
In Chapter 5, the deception continues. Poor Harry is freaked out totally as Mom acts like his sister and his sister acts like his Mom. Tess and Anna each get a dose of each other’s lives. Anna switches on rock music in the car so that it thunders through the surround sound system. The music underscores Tess’s scenes with Jake and Stacy as well as her daughter’s band buddies. Anna has to block her mom’s fiancé before he kisses her. Rock music crashes through the surround sound system as Anna puts her mom’s credit cards to use revamping her mom’s wardrobe and style. One of the best bits is when Anna declines the root canal her mom has scheduled.
Chapter 6 brings about some revelations to Tess. In addition to discovering that Stacy really is out to get her, she also realizes that Mr. Bates the English teacher really is out to get Anna. She later dresses Mr. Bates down in a manner that will set parents and kids to cheering. Anna arrives at school in the Volvo, tires shrieking through the surround sound system, setting off car alarms and honking as rock music thunders through the surround sound system. The scene about the food differences and what mother and daughter can each eat is terrific. They go to the Chinese restaurant and find out about the magic spell so that daughters and mothers can understand each other. Anna sums it up best when she says they’re stuck in this “suckfest.” The chapter offers a wonderful situation when Anna has to attend the parent-teacher conference and gets a totally different view of her little brother. Harry is having trouble with bullies, and he also idolizes Anna.
A surprise television interview in Chapter 7 turns out to be awesome. Tess gets an education on how treacherous Stacy can be as she is set up and dismissed from the honors test. Anna struggles through the interview about the book her mother wrote while Jake proves what a resourceful and great guy he is by helping Tess take the test. Anna ends up getting to crowd-surf the television audience as rock music hammers the surround sound system. Things get even more complicated as Anna shows up in her mom’s body and Jake falls for her, the older woman.
The DVD’s bonus materials are a little lean, but nevertheless touching. The best piece by far is Lindsay Lohan’s “Backstage Pass.” The material includes three alternate endings that show the degree of selection a director has to take into consideration, and it also pushes the final music piece of the film. The deleted scene shows Tess’s less-than-professional reaction to Stacy, which was deemed by the director as too harsh for the overall tone of the movie.
“Freaky Friday” is a crowd pleaser. The disc is a good prospect to add to the family DVDs as a film that will be seen again and again. Viewers who only want an evening’s fare for the family, something that will engage a younger audience with quick humor and music, as well as teen angst and something that will entertain an adult audience, will find that “Freaky Friday” fits the bill. Curtis and Lohan really stand out in their respective dual roles, able to slip back and forth between adult and teen almost effortlessly.