In the annals of human events — specifically, those annals having to do with making your Wonderful Girlfriend happy — it often becomes necessary to watch movies one would not otherwise watch. Thus, I quite fortunately came to see “Freaky Friday”:http://www.imdb.com/Title?0322330.
_Freaky Friday_ has a simple plot — a mother and teenage daughter switch bodies for a day and learn to appreciate each others’ trials and challenges in life. By understanding each other better, they become closer and yadda yadda yadda cue sappy strings. The resulting picture is neither as contrived nor as boring as it might seem.
It’s, frankly, a bit freaky that I enjoyed this film more than my Wonderful Girlfriend, who’s probably much more exemplary of the movie’s target demographic than am I. She thought it was nice but a bit cookie-cutter; I disagreed with the latter assessment.
This is not to deny that _Freaky Friday_ is filled with cliches; it sure is. Oh, and there are plenty of moments when you just know what is going to happen next. But this movie proves that the difference between “seen it a million times” and “oh that was pretty amusing” is execution and attention to detail; _Freaky Friday_ scores high on both.
The foundation comes from a sound script. Not overly original, it does have a few key traits that most scripts are missing:
* Realistic dialogue both for the mother and for the daughter, leaving us with conversation that doesn’t sound contrived and doesn’t overreach either for maturity or for youthful hipness
* Simple, familiar characters with easy-to-understand motivations who behave in ways that make sense
* A stunning lack of plot holes, _deus ex machina_, etc.; the movie’s plot just moves itself along naturally
Follow this up with solid acting of the type needed in a silly teenage movie such as this; even the bit players leave the right taste in your mouth. In a movie populated by stereotypes and, even worse, teenage actors and even younger kids, audience members have got to steel themselves for scenes that are real stinkers thanks to the complete inability of the actors involved therein to pull of their lines or character. Not so in _Freaky Friday_! Jaime Lee Curtis and Lindsey Lohan are perfect as the switched mother and daughter, both playing mature and young-and-hip with equal ease and conviction. Mark Harmon is just cute and rich enough to be believable as Curtis’s future husband. The tyke who plays the youngest child in the household is funny and unselfconscious, and grandpa is convincingly addled. The hot boy is dumb but sincere (and maybe not as dumb as he seems), and the teachers are convincingly dull and useless.
Heck, in this one they even got the music right — _Freaky Friday_ is filled with the kind of bubblegum-pop-posing-as-punk that the kids seem to love today. And there’s even a bunch of punk rock girls who I’m not allowed to think are cute for another year or so.
The soundtrack is just one of the details _Freaky Friday_ got right. With no scenes that drag on and none that are cut short, with well-dressed sets, the director and crew of this production kept their eyes on the ball. And the actors were in character for even the littlest scenes, with the right posture and body movements and every line convincingly delivered by the character who said it (well, except for the Big Speech At The End That Provides Closure, but this kind of movie has to have that so we’ll give it a free pass).
It’s these details that ultimately make _Freaky Friday_ a complete and well-executed film, and that’s why the subject of this entry is a good, fun movie well worth a DVD rental.