"Root canal? That's not fair, they're not my teeth!"
As many are already familiar, the plot eventually has Anna and Tess switching bodies - this time, thanks to a magical fortune cookie. Although one could rightly think that the body-swapping genre went through a final crash in the '80's, it's reborn here quite well, thanks to good direction and great performances.
As for the performances, Lohan and Curtis work wonderfully together. The two make a believable mother-daughter pairing and things get even better when the two switch, as they both seem to have a great deal of fun imitating one another. Lohan's performance continues her string of fine work, turning in as convincingly rebellious a performance as one can expect from PG Disney fare, yet also skillfully doing the uptight flip-side once the switch occurs (I can't imagine original star Kelly Osbourne in the role). I don't think Curtis has had this much fun in years, with a couple of terrific scenes playing Anna-as-Tess, both in Tess's psychologist's office and on a talk show. Special mention also must go to Ryan Malgarini, who plays Anna's bratty younger brother with wit and good humor.
There's a real reason why this film was a surprise hit - in a year of disappointments, this is a great deal of fun. Superbly directed by Mark Waters ("House of Yes") and well-reimagined by screenwriters Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire) and Heather Hach, the well-paced film manages to go light on the "lessons" and twist the expected situations into something fresh. An enjoyable film for all ages.
VIDEO: "Freaky Friday" is presented by Disney in THX-Certified 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame on this DVD. Both versions of the film are housed on the same side of a dual-layer disc. The anamorphic widescreen presentation is just above average, seemingly suffering a bit from having to share space with the full-frame presentation. Sharpness and detail are generally quite good, as fine detail and definition remained pleasant.
Although definition remained pleasing, there were still issues. Mild edge enhancement appeared in a few scenes, as did a few noticable compression artifacts. The print appeared to be in very good condition, aside from a little bit of dirt. Colors remained bright and well-saturated, with no concerns. Overall, a nice transfer, but a couple of issues kept it from being better.
SOUND: "Freaky Friday" is presented by Disney in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's sound mix is fairly conservative, but still remains enjoyable. This is a mostly dialogue-driven feature, but the film's terrific soundtrack (I'm almost thinking about buying the CD) kicks into gear wonderfully at times, with the surrounds reinforcing the music nicely. The earthquake in the "switch" sequence also uses the surrounds well. Music sounds dynamic and crisp, while dialogue remained clear and natural-sounding.
EXTRAS: Not too much, unfortunately: a short "behind-the-scenes featurette, so-so bloopers, a deleted scene, alternate endings with intros from director Mark Waters and music videos. Curtis has a "Star Wars" speech to Lohan in the featurette that's pretty amusing.
Final Thoughts: More fun than I could ever expect it to be, "Freaky Friday" takes a tired premise and gives it a kick, thanks to a solid script and two fantastic performances. Disney's DVD edition offers good audio/video quality and a few supplements. Recommended.