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Curtis, Lohan Update 70s Disney Film in <i> Freaky Friday</i> - 2003-08-08


Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan co-star as a mom and teenaged daughter who magically switch places in an update of a 1970s Disney family film. Alan Silverman has a look at Freaky Friday.

With words that almost every teenager has blurted out at one time or another, 15-year-old Anna bitterly complains that her mom just doesn't understand her. And despite her background as a psychoanalyst, mom Tess is also traveling down a well-worn path of saying "I know what's best for you."

What changes their lives and their appreciation for each other is when they magically change places; after eating an enchanted fortune cookie, Tess wakes up in teenager Anna's body and Anna looks in the mirror and sees her mom's face.

Freaky Friday is adapted from the popular young people's novel by Mary Rodgers and was made into a film once before by the Disney studio: a 1976 comedy that starred a young Jodie Foster as the teenager. This time around, Lindsay Lohan plays Anna.

"I think it's cooler rather than intimidating. It's like 'wow, I get to play a role that Jodie Foster played. Let's just hope I do it as good as she did," she laughs. "My mom and I have gotten along. I've been blessed to get along with her very well, but for some teenagers it's hard to speak to their parents.

Some teenagers have trouble expressing their feelings. They keep it in and that's why they don't tell their parents what they do. I think this movie will help teens appreciate what their parents do. This movie will be a vehicle for mothers and daughters, which I think is a great thing."

Jamie Lee Curtis who is in the midst of raising her own teenaged daughter in real life, says the ,Freaky Friday fantasy is fun, but she doesn't expect a movie to change people's lives.

"I think movies are entertainment and this is a fun, family comedy," she says. " It's a movie you're supposed to go to with your family. I don't think it's reaching for any big messages. There is a nice 'walk a mile in my shoes' message at the core of the movie, but ultimately it's a family comedy and family entertainment designed to be a movie that a father, mother and their teenaged daughter or son . . . and even their eight-year-old . . . can go to.

There isn't stuff objectionable in it; you're n-o-t covering the eyes and ears of somebody. You can leave [the theater] maybe having a conversation. I don't think it reaches for more than that."

Of course, comparisons with the 1976 film are inevitable and director Mark Waters believes this version, while still playing with the fantasy element, is more in touch with the realities of mother-daughter relationships:

"I remember absolutely loving the [original] movie and having these fond memories. I watched it again and it is a really silly, dated movie. It is very much of the time and the most serious thing that happens in the movie is she puts too much soap in the washing machine," he says. " So this concept is great and we put it in the real world, having this widowed mother and her daughter truly going through things that are happening these days, like a mother and daughter at each other's throats, n-o-t relating and having to go through something to actually get together. Because it's a more serious time in mother-daughter relations it also made more opportunities for humor because of we could be dealing with real issues."

Freaky Friday also features Mark Harmon as the very confused fiancé of Curtis's character; and Chad Michael Murray plays the high school hunk Lohan's teenager has a crush on. In character, Lindsay Lohan also gets to sing a rock number on screen and it's included in the soundtrack.

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