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Jamie Lee Curtis

In 'Freaky Friday'

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Jamie Lee Curtis

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Jamie Lee Curtis gives one of the year's Great Performances

A 45-year-old woman doesn't often get to headline a movie. Even rarer is when said movie becomes a breakout $109 million hit. But not every 45-year-old actress is Jamie Lee Curtis, who, in last summer's Freaky Friday remake, dazzles as both the buttoned-up career mom, Tess Coleman, and as her gawky, perpetually humiliated teenage daughter, Anna (played pre-body swap by Lindsay Lohan). And like Tom Hanks in Big almost a generation ago, her performances are cooking up serious awards-season heat. ''I have a very immature nature that I cover up with a lot of responsible adult behavior,'' laughs Curtis, a mother of two. ''So it was as perfect an opportunity as I would ever have.'' Bless her childish heart, Curtis lives it up in every scene, exhibiting a glorious unself-consciousness as Anna while wriggling away from Tess' fiance (Mark Harmon), struggling with an ill-fitting thong, and shrieking at being trapped in her mother's middle-aged body: ''I'm like the Crypt Keeper!'' Curtis had such a blast, in fact, that she's in no rush to commit to a next project. ''If I never did anything else, what a way to finish. To quote Anna, 'It doesn't suck.'''

Originally posted Dec 26, 2003 Published in issue #743-744 Dec 26, 2003 Order article reprints