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By Kevin Carr | January 29, 2004

“Freaky Friday” is one of those DVDs that I am sure will be played relentlessly at slumber parties around America. It’s a mother-daughter movie and a good bet for teenage girls. A remake of the 1976 original, this version keeps the general concepts and themes of the original intact, but it modernizes a lot of the individual struggles. 

Annabell (Lindsay Lohan) is a fifteen year old girl struggling to be herself in the high school sea. She’s got the annoying little brother, a gaggle of friends to be the devils and angels on her shoulders and a hopeful career as a lead guitarist in a garage band. 

Annabell’s mother Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) is a psychiatrist who is in the middle of planning her second wedding and doesn’t really have the time or the energy to deal with all the BS her daughter throws her way. After a day of bickering and yelling at each other, Annabell and Tess are put under an ancient Chinese curse that causes them to switch bodies until they can respect each other’s point of view. 

One improvement on the original was the role of Annabell. In the original, Annabel was played by Jodie Foster, a good actor in her own right, but no one can deny that she was firmly in her awkward period in her life when she made the 1976 film. (When a girl has more sex appeal as a 12 year old street walker in “Taxi Driver” than when she’s a teenager, that’s not a good thing.) 

Additionally, there are some updates to the family structure and the challenges that Tess (or rather Annabell in Tess’s body) has to face. No longer is the biggest challenge putting the right amount of detergent into the laundry. In 2003, she faced planning a wedding and juggling her pop-psychology career and patients. 

There are some interesting special features on this DVD, but even these features themselves seem pretty slim. There is a single deleted scene, which feels odd since usually deleted scenes consist of at least two or three scenes. Also, these scenes usually have a certain impact on the movie (although I usually can understand why they were left out of the final cut). For “Freaky Friday,” there is a single deleted scene which involves Tess (as Annabell) getting even with prim snob Stacey Hinkhouse (Julie Gonzalo). 

The deleted scene is introduced by director Mark Waters, which is nice – except the scene itself is so short that Waters’ introduction is actually longer than the scene itself. Also, during Waters’ introduction, he talks as if we will be seeing several scenes. I’m not sure where these mysterious extra scenes went, but they didn’t make their way to the DVD. 

Perhaps they were talking about the alternate ending, which Waters also introduces. It’s nothing grand – just two variations on the ending that made it into theaters. 

Other special features includes “Backstage Pass with Lindsay Lohan,” which is the Disney version of a behind-the-scenes documentary that is hosted by one of the younger actors. This is a fun little bit and sure to be interesting for the kids seeing the movie. 

Two music videos are also included from the girl bands that helped supply the soundtrack. As well, a pretty standard blooper gag reel is also included in the mix. One nice feature is that the disc contains both the fullscreen (1:33 aspect ratio) and the widescreen (1:85 aspect ratio) presentations to avoid consumers buying the wrong disc. 

Noticeably absent is a commentary track, which is usually a reason to rent a movie even if it wasn’t great. Alas, though, without a commentary there’s not too much of a reason to get the DVD over the VHS or even for someone outside of the target demographic to watch it. 

Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. THX-Certified, including THX Optimizer. Widescreen (1.85:1), enhanced for 16×9 televisions. Fullscreen (1.33:1). English Language Subtitles.

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