Freaky Friday | EW.com

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Freaky FridayEven in her prime sexpot years, Jamie Lee Curtis' anti-vanity has been a great part of her appeal. But something wonderfully liberating has happened now...Freaky FridayComedyPT97MPGEven in her prime sexpot years, Jamie Lee Curtis' anti-vanity has been a great part of her appeal. But something wonderfully liberating has happened now...2006-08-10Mark HarmonChad Michael MurrayMark Harmon, Chad Michael MurrayWalt Disney Pictures
Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis, ...

(Freaky Friday: Ron Batzdorff)

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Freaky Friday

Genre: Comedy; Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Chad Michael Murray; Director: Mark Waters; Author: Leslie Dixon, Heather Hach; Release Date Wide: 08/06/2003; Status: In Season; Runtime (in minutes): 97; MPAA Rating: PG; Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

Even in her prime sexpot years, Jamie Lee Curtis’ anti-vanity has been a great part of her appeal. But something wonderfully liberating has happened now that the 44-year-old actress has looked Hollywood middle age in the eye: She’s glorious in Freaky Friday, a funny, shrewd, no-bull family comedy about the relationship between mothers and teenage daughters that allows Curtis the comedian to remember her days as a slinky starlet while making use of her wisdom as the mother of an adolescent girl herself.

In this particular ”Friday” – an exemplary Disney update of its own 1976 charmer starring Barbara Harris and a young Jodie Foster – Curtis plays Dr. Tess Coleman, an overscheduled, widowed psychologist at noisy odds with her 15-year-old daughter, Anna (excellent Lindsay Lohan, princess of the Disney remake following her nifty work as twin sisters in the 1998 version of ”The Parent Trap”). Tess gives Anna a hard time about the girl’s rock band; Anna gives her mother grief about Tess’ affable fiancé, Ryan (Mark Harmon). Then, with a boost of magic, they find that they’ve swapped bodies, and lives. Comic near-catastrophes ensue, followed by a deepened appreciation of each other’s point of view.

”Freaky Friday” makes room for serious issues, like a child’s anxiety about a parent’s remarriage and a parent’s anxiety about a child’s budding sexuality. But – written with a real understanding of contemporary kid culture by Heather Hach and Leslie Dixon and directed with a great appreciation of mother-daughter eye rolling by Mark Waters (”Head Over Heels”) – the movie also leaves space for plenty of smartly silly stuff, much of it supplied by Curtis with a generosity and playfulness that is its own kind of sexiness.

Embodying a teen horrified by adult squareness, Curtis-as-Anna gets a spikier haircut and buys a cooler wardrobe than Tess would have dared – then sprawls in a perfect imitation of gosling gawkiness, grossed out by the affections of a baffled Ryan. In fact, Curtis’ empathy with girlhood, and her wry pleasure in womanhood, is all about grace.

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