Curtis and Lohan, playing four roles between them, manage to keep everything straight – and funny. 

FREAKY FRIDAY

An Illusion review by Joan Ellis


            “Freaky Friday” is one big surprise.  This family movie puts two good actresses together and asks each of them to imagine the world through the eyes of the other.  The surprise is that it works beautifully.  In fine collusion, director and writers manage to catch the running hot war between mother, (Jamie Lee Curtis as Tess Coleman) and daughter (Lindsay Lohan as Anna) with some good belly laughs.

                The daily skirmishes are aggravated by the fact that today is the day of the rehearsal dinner for the wedding of Tess and Ryan (an ever patient Mark Harmon); Anna isn’t too sure she wants a stepfather, even a nice one.  As things grow tense, an observant, elderly Chinese mother wraps Tess and Anna in a Chinese proverb that will govern their lives until the day they learn to love selflessly.  Suddenly each wakes up in the body of the other, sentenced to live each other’s lives.  The education of Tess and Anna Coleman has begun.  Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, in zany harmony, play each other wonderfully. 

                Lindsay Lohan, who was so good in “The Parent Trap”, has become an accomplished actress with a wide range.  She can move from sullen high schooler to compassionate adult in a snap.  Comfortable with who she is, Ms. Lohan brings genuine calm and self-assurance to both of the roles she plays here.  And whatever the actual level of her real life guitar playing and singing, she puts on a great show.   The music from the “band in the garage” is terrific.  So is the moment when Mom throws the circuit breaker.

                Talk about being comfortable with yourself.  Jamie Lee Curtis, mother of a daughter herself, inhabits the role of working mother knowingly.  Tess’s life is one comic race against the clock.  A therapist who must be calm for her patients (in a series of wickedly funny comments on contemporary therapy) she juggles a tangle of PDAs and cell phones to keep professional and personal life on track.  Both Curtis and Lohan, playing four roles between them, manage to keep everything straight – and funny. 

Jamie Lee Curtis is a woman who has decided to grow older gracefully.  Her face is full of expression; her acting is rooted in life, not vanity.  She brings fine comic timing to this dual role and seems to be having the time of her life on screen.  In her scenes with Jake, Anna’s boyfriend, (Chad Michael Murray), Curtis is nothing less than luminous.   

            The movie is witty, clever, and demanding of its two leads who bring an inspired team effort to the task.   Because each of them plays both mother and daughter so well, we in the audience are taken on a real joy ride through the emotions of adolescence and middle age.  If only there were a magical fortune cookie that could let the rest of us stand in the shoes of the people who are driving us nuts.


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