By Heather Boerner,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sweet dad-son switcheroo has booze, cursing.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Charlie's parents hate each other and Marshall is an absentee, workaholic dad. Charlie, as Marshall, flips off the guys from work when they gossip about him. Marshall as Charlie steals a police motorcycle. People steal and swindle. But the heart of the story is that, by switching bodies, father and son get to know each other and become closer.
Violence & Scariness
Marshall gets hit in the groin by a football. Charlie fires a crossbow, but no one gets hurt. There's lots of falling and hitting when Marshall plays hockey.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Floyd makes reference to "boffing." Marshall and Sam kiss several times. Charlie as Marshall has his first kiss with Sam. Sam talks about spending the night with Charlie/Marshall. Guys in the office objectify a new woman at work, saying she has an "available mouth," and other comments.
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Considerable salty language, much of it coming from Savage as Marshall, including, "bulls--t," "goddammit," "asshole," "hell," "holy s--t," "son of a bitch," "little prick," "ball breaker," "asswipe," "buttheads."
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Products & Purchases
Marshall is constantly asking for Grey Poupon mustard.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
11-year-old Charlie, when possessed by his dad's spirit, drinks cocktails. Tina drinks from a flask. Sam refers to drinking too much wine, though she doesn't actually get drunk. Some teens are caught smoking cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this heartwarming father-son flick is full of swearing and drinking -- often by 11-year-old Charlie while he's possessed by his father's spirit. The movie also features warring, divorced parents. Marshall even tells his son that his ex-wife is someone he can't stand. Marshall also steals a police car and is rude to his assistant.
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What's the Story?
Marshall Seymour (Judge Reinhold) ignores his assistant, takes his relationship with girlfriend Sam (Corinne Bohrer) for granted and is an absentee dad to his 11-year-old son Charlie (Fred Savage). When he's forced to spend time with his son because his ex-wife (Jane Kaczmarek) is going on vacation, he doesn't know what to do with him. He can't relate to his messiness, his love of frogs, or his obsession with rock music. But when Marshall accidentally received a stolen Tibetan temple artifact, he and his son are suddenly in different bodies. Now Marshall has to learn what it feels like to be a short 11-year-old surrounded by bullies, and Charlie must learn to navigate the corporate jungle, where every day Marshall's job seems to hang on the line.
Is It Any Good?
VICE VERSA is a well-meaning but essentially mediocre retelling of the life-switch generational comedy. Vice Versa is harmless enough -- despite the tween drinking that Charlie does while possessed by his dad's spirit -- but never quite finds the right balance between the wacky hijinx of the original Freaky Friday and an afterschool special on intergenerational love and understanding.
Part of the problem is casting: Neither Savage nor Reinhold are very convincing in their roles as child and adult, respectively. Savage is way more convincing as the take-charge dad than as a flighty kid. And Reinhold steals the film when he's hamming it up as Charlie (and is endearing as a scared child in an adult's body). But as an adult again? He seems to have had too much fun as a kid to want to grow up again.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about ways they make time for one another. Do kids feel like their parents are too busy for them? How do parents make time for their kids? What do you like to do together and how often do you get to do it?
- In theaters: March 11, 1988
- On DVD or streaming: April 27, 2004
- Cast: Fred Savage, Jane Kaczmarek, Judge Reinhold, Swoosie Kurtz
- Director: Brian Gilbert
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: April 3, 2023
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