Whenever Disney remakes a movie, I love watching both and comparing them. Up until this past weekend I had not seen the original Freaky Friday. The original Freaky Friday was made in 1976 and starred Jodi Foster.
Overall the story is the same. Mother and daughter switch brains, but not bodies for the day. In the beginning of the movie they don’t understand what each other goes through, but at the end mutual understanding and a stronger relationship takes place. Other than the base story line many things are different.
One difference is the era. Even though the original version was made in the 1976, you would think you were watching a version from the 50’s if the clothes and music were different. The mom, played by Barbara Harris, is a very typical housewife and mom of that era. She does the beck and call of her husband’s every whim and there are no shared responsibilities. In the new version of the movie, the mother is not a housewife, but a successful career woman trying to balance being a mom, wife, and mother. Since very few women now are able to be stay at home moms the new version is more relevant to the current generation, but for the moms that are able to stay home I love how the movie shows that the stay at home mom’s job is a tough job and not for everyone. Another way the movie pays reference to the different eras is the family dynamic. In the original version it is your typical family. Mom, dad, brother, and sister make up the home. In the new version it is about the blended family, which is almost more common than not. The mom, Jaime Lee Curtis, is engaged and ready to marry again. Anna, played by Lindsey Lohan, doesn’t like the new step dad until the end of the Freaky Friday experience.
The character personas of the daughters are much different. I am not sure if they were trying to pick a movie that they could make for Lindsay or if they just thought she was the best fit. Now please don’t get started on a rant about Lindsay Lohan’s personal life behavior. I am not discussing that today. Disney saw what I see in Lindsay, and that is a great actress. She did a great job in Freaky Friday, as did Jodi Foster. Jodi Foster played a young teen, who was somewhat of a tomboy. Lindsay played an older teen who in many ways personified today’s typical teenage girl. In one scene of the original movie the mom while having the daughters brain tries putting on makeup. She ends up doing a horrible job. Most young teens now are pros at putting makeup on. This I guess could be another era type difference. Kids now give up barbies much earlier than they did in the 70’s or even 80’s.
Another difference I noticed was the daughter’s object of affection. The the new version Anna’s crush is cool and attractive. He is one of the popular kids. The original version the boy is somewhat dorky and funny looking. Both movie versions have the mom, who is housing the brain of the daughter, flirt with the boy and you almost have a “Mrs. Robinson” situation.
The biggest difference to me is the comedy in the film. The original version uses a ton of well played slapstick. Several of the scenes near the end of the movie had my husband and I rolling and I loved how they used a lot of “Herbie” moves in the car chase scene. Humor today is usually so perverted that clean slap stick comedy is dead, unless it is done in a corny way. I am not saying the new version of Freaky Friday wasn’t funny, it just didn’t have my husband and me laughing out loud all that much.
So, have you seen the old version? What version is your favorite? I have not seen the made for TV Freaky Friday that was made in 1995.