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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Freaky Friday is a switched-identities comedy that will appeal to older kids, tweens, and teens alike. It's a good movie for families to watch together, as it will spark shared laughter and possible lively conversation about parent-child relationships. There is some very mild sexual innuendo as filmmakers skillfully handle the awkward moments when the teen girl in her mom’s body and the mom in her teen's body are confronted with potentially romantic moments with the two male love interests. Occasional swearing is used to help define the characters as they adapt to their new and unfamiliar roles ("Oh, my God!" "We’re screwed," "harlot," "hell," "fart," "it sucks"). Two earthquakes shake things up a bit, but no one is hurt.
What's the story?
In FREAKY FRIDAY, based on the book by Mary Rodgers, Jamie Lee Curtis plays Tess, a compassionate therapist and a loving, if harried mother of two children. Her husband died three years ago, and she's about to be married to the devoted, understanding Ryan (Mark Harmon). Her daughter Anna (Lindsay Lohan), like most 15-year-olds, thinks that she has both too much of her mother's attention (when it comes to telling her what to do) and not enough (when it comes to knowing what's important to her, which she thinks Tess should just be able to intuit, since Anna doesn't really want to tell her anything). When the two of them get into an argument at a Chinese restaurant, the owner's mother gives them magic fortune cookies. The next morning, they wake up as each other. While they figure out how to return to their own bodies, each has to spend the day living the other's life.
Is it any good?
Curtis and Lohan are so clearly enjoying themselves that they're fun to watch, and the story moves along so briskly that its logical flaws barely get in the way. Freaky Friday is a great way to start discussions between parents and teens about how they can better understand one another.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fairly common motif of switched identities in Freaky Friday. Have you seen the original 1976 version starring Jody Foster as a kid?
Why it is hard for Tess and Anna to understand each other at the beginning of the movie? If the parents and children in your family switched places, what would be the biggest surprises?
What do you think of how Anna resolves her problems with her English teacher and the honors exam?
- In theaters: August 8, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: December 16, 2003
- Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon
- Director: Mark Waters
- Studio: Buena Vista
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, High School
- Character Strengths: Empathy, Gratitude, Self-control
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild thematic elements and some language
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