Movie Review

Freaky Friday (2003)

MPAA Rating: PG
Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis, ... | TRADING PLACES Spirited update ''Friday'' makes a real mother-daughter connection
Image credit: Freaky Friday: Ron Batzdorff
TRADING PLACES Spirited update ''Friday'' makes a real mother-daughter connection

Okay for kids?

EW says…

Min. Age 10-12 Yrs Old

Parents could enjoy this teen-focused comedy, which explores mother-daughter relationships without feeling preachy. One icky point: The daughter (in mom's body) spends much of the film avoiding the advances of her soon-to-be stepfather. A.W.

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Freaky Friday

Parents could enjoy this teen-focused comedy, which explores mother-daughter relationships without feeling preachy. One icky point: The daughter (in mom's body) spends much of the film avoiding the advances of her soon-to-be stepfather.

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PG

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EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Aug 06, 2003; Rated: PG; Length: 97 Minutes; Genre: Comedy; With: Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan; Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures; More

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.

Originally posted Jul 30, 2003 Published in issue #722 Aug 08, 2003 Order article reprints