Freaky Friday (2003)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Comedy, Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 6, 2003 (USA)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Michael Hastings

Better remembered for its premise and the stellar performances of leads Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster than its script, direction, or stridently wacky slapstick finale, 1976's Freaky Friday has always been deserving of a decent remake. Even if it misses the Big-era body-switching craze by more than a dozen years, Mark S. Waters' inspired update fits the bill quite nicely, allowing for two more great star turns, as well as some knowing observations on the state of the not-so-nuclear family in the new millennium. Too infrequently tapped for her considerable comic gifts, Jamie Lee Curtis has a field day with the role -- or rather, roles: She's understandably clenched as the harried, remarrying widow, and has a brilliant, brusque physicality when her body is hijacked. Already a Disney stalwart at age 15, Lindsay Lohan impresses as well, and in a manner different than Foster before her. Where Foster used her innate smarts to play against her impudent tomboy image, Lohan suggests that both mother and daughter share a very genetic intelligence, just one that's been modified to suit two very different environments -- the trenches of high school as opposed to the couches of the shrink's office. Neither actress overplays her part, and Waters buoys them with plenty of flattering wide shots, cultural references, and catty humor, fleshing out what could have easily become just another impersonal, sanitized, generic remake from the Mouse House.