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Freaky Friday (2003)

Of course, any remake of Disney's original Freaky Friday (1976) should star Jodie Foster in the mother's role — although it was made the same year as Martin Scorsese's groundbreaking, controversial Taxi Driver, few back then could have guessed that the young actress would break the curse of child stars and win an Oscar. Actually… two Oscars. Um… before she turned 30. Unfortunately, even though producer Andrew Gunn approached Foster with a pitch, she turned it down (reportedly concerned that the casting would be little more than a marketing stunt). And after Annette Bening withdrew, the modestly budgeted family project fell into Jamie Lee Curtis's lap before going on to gross $109 million. Beats selling cell phones. Curtis co-stars with Lindsay Lohan as Tess and Annabell Coleman, a mother and daughter who have a hard time seeing eye-to-eye. Having been a widow for a few years, Tess has found a new man, Ryan (Mark Harmon), and her wedding is just days away. But Annabell is not prepared to let go of her father's memory just yet, and in any case her band is slated to play at the House of Blues on the same night of her mother's wedding rehearsal. After recriminations boil over in a Chinese restaurant, a mysterious fortune-cookie has earth-shattering consequences, and by the next morning the two realize that they've switched bodies — which means Annabell will have to look after her mother's psychiatric patients while Tess will have to cram her way through a day of high school. The original Freaky Friday has its ardent fans, but it's pretty hard to argue with the 2003 remake — after all, a whole lot of the mom-daughter switch in '76 centered not around the older woman's career, but her freakin' housework (does the washing-machine gag really play well with today's under-13 female demographic)? Here, Tess Colman is presented as a hard-working single mom who perhaps is a little too career-driven, but she successfully juggles her work, family, and grocery shopping while talking up a blue streak at a Nokia headset. And fifteen-year-old Annabell still finds school a pain and gets mushy over guys, but she also likes talking about the latest alterna-bands, including The Vines and The White Stripes ("Get a bass player!" she sneers over the latter — one can only wonder what she thinks about riot grrls Sleater-Kinney). Freaky Friday succeeds thanks to its ability to latch on to the contemporary high-school movie genre, while at the same time soaking up plenty of Gen-Y appeal, from the fashions to the crunchy girl-pop soundtrack. Lindsay Lohan returns to the big screen after appearing in Disney's 1998 remake of The Parent Trap and does a reasonably good job of singing one song ("Ultimate") and thrashing on a Telecaster. As for Curtis, this one's become her most successful film outing since the blockbuster True Lies back in 1994. And don't miss that guitar solo she plays as the "switched" Annabell — can there be any doubt that husband Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap) had his hands in the matter? Buena Vista's DVD release of Freaky Friday features a solid anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Features include a behind-the-scenes tour with Lohan (7 min.), a deleted scene, two alternate endings, and two music videos. Keep-case.
—JJB



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