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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Freaky Friday (review)

This spiffy and thoroughly charming update of the 1976 Disney classic brings the perennial battle between mothers and daughters into the modern world — complete with Blackberrys and belly-button piercings — and shows that though the details may have changed, the struggle itself remains eternal… and winnable on both sides. Jamie Lee Curtis, as a widowed psychologist mom, switches bodies and lives (thanks to some ancient Chinese magic) with her moody, punky teenaged daughter (Lindsay Lohan), and each gets a crash course in what it’s like to walk in each other’s shoes, and it’s nowhere near as easy or as fun as they suspected it would be. Curtis (Virus) and Lohan, both utterly delightful, obviously had a ball imitating each other’s quirks and mannerisms, but Curtis has the juicier part and relishes her chance to be a kid again — her fun is downright infectious. Sweetly comic and surprisingly moving, the focus stays real — and thankfully avoids the juvenile sense of humor that fills today’s teen movies — by exploring the frustrating misunderstandings and conflicts that separate generations with a knowing tenderness. Here’s the rare film genuinely suited for the whole family, one that kids won’t be embarrassed to see with their parents, one that might actually remind parents how hard it sometimes is to be a kid.

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MPAA: rated PG for mild thematic elements and some language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
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