Review of “Freaky Friday” (2003)

When 6 A.M. strikes, Tess Coleman, a widowed therapist, tries to wake up her teenage daughter, Anna, for school. But Anna keeps resisting. Her little brother, Harry, blows a horn, which gets her out of bed and ready for school. 

At school, Anna’s ex-friend, Stacy Hinkhouse (who now bullies Anna), congratulates Tess on her marriage to a man named Ryan. Anna struggles to accept Ryan becoming her stepfather as she still can’t move on from losing her biological father a few years back. 

In English, Anna complains to her teacher, Mr. Bates, after the F she received on her most recent assignment, claiming that he treats her unfairly. She criticizes his baldness, which lands her in detention. 

Later, in gym class, the students are playing volleyball. Anna deliberately hits Stacy with the ball, and receives detention once again. Eventually, she interacts with her crush, Jake, who looks and dresses like a student, but is actually a staff member (yet, Anna can still date him, and she as well as all the other students get to call him Jake). 

At home, Anna practices with her band, which includes her friends, Maddie and Peg, for an audition to perform at the House of Blues. However, the audition is scheduled the same night Tess is holding her rehearsal dinner. But no changes in terms of rescheduling the audition can be made. The band members already struggled to even land a spot for their performance. 

After Anna performs with her band, she sees Harry, and a few other little boys (presumably his friends) jumping on her bed. She yells at them to leave and almost slams the door… only to discover that it’s missing. 

She asks her mom about where her door is. But Tess will only allow her to have it back once she improves her behavior. She also adds the failing grade she received in English, and how she is at risk of suspension from school. 

While at the Chinese restaurant, Anna tells Tess about her band’s audition, and Tess says that she can go after the rehearsal dinner. But it’s happening during it, so Tess will not let Anna attend. This leads to an argument between the two, where Anna claims that everyone is ruining her life, and that Tess has the perfect life. The fight intensifies and ends with Tess forbidding Anna to go to the audition. 

The restaurant’s owner, who is the mother of a waitress named Pei-Pei, offers them each a fortune cookie, which they decline. But she insists, and the two take them.  

An earthquake occurs, which startles Anna and Tess. They return to their table and tell the others about the earthquake they’ve experienced – except that they didn’t feel it. They even say that there was no earthquake. 

That night, Anna and Tess’s body positions move in their sleep… which leads to Tess waking up inside Anna’s body. She notices that the hair and body aren’t hers. And the mirror reveals that she is now in Anna’s body. 

Harry tells her, “Mom’s dead!” That scares her as she follows him to her actual body. Harry notices “Anna” acting strange, such as calling him honey. After he leaves, “Anna” wakes up “Tess” (Anna in her mom’s body). She wakes up, and both women are in shock. They freak out over their body-switching, even to the point where they purposely and physically bump into each other. 

As “Anna” attends school, she leaves poor impressions on Maddie, Peg, and Jake. “Tess” struggles with giving her clients good advice about their situations. 

The two meet up at that same Chinese restaurant from the previous night and learn what happened. They only have until midnight to return to their bodies. 

Freaky Friday has a good number of the strengths, such as the humor. There a some example below.

The earthquake element plays a major role in this film. When Harry repeatedly asks his and Anna’s grandpa to pass the milk at breakfast, the grandfather yells, “Earthquake!” When he notices “Anna” calling “Tess,” “young lady,” they claim that they are role-playing like they’ve switched places. He talks about how things would be if he switched places with Harry, Harry goes, “Earthquake, earthquake,” by waving his arms around. 

I also like the line from one of Tess’s coworkers, Evan, saying, “You lied to me, you liar.” That line remains funny, even though the actor who played him died.

Another great moment includes when Tess talks on the phone at the grocery store and faces a lady behind a counter, where she compliments the other person on the phone. The woman behind the counter then emotionally thanks her. 

When Mr. Bates passes out the graded assignments to the class, while whistling, Anna looks at him about her F, and his whistling becomes a “too bad” sound. That cracks me up just thinking about it. 

There are some pitfalls as well. One is how I found it strange that when Anna and Tess switched bodies, their voices didn’t change. Only the ways they talked showed that they’d switched bodies. 

In past visual media, the characters’ voices changed after they traded bodies. An example is Scooby Doo, the 2002 live-action adaptation, where Fred and Daphne’s voices change after they have switched bodies.  

I also found it disappointing that we never see Anna get her door back. Yes, she could have always gone into the bathroom if she needed privacy. However, I believe removing your child’s door, even if you demand that privacy is a privilege, can get you into trouble with authorities.

The door was also somehow removed too quickly, as if it magically disappeared. Hopefully, Anna got her door back after the story ended.  

The final flaw is how it was bright and sunny at 5:59 AM, in Los Angeles. It can be that way in the summer months near The North or South Pole – but not in the southern US. It’s never like that in New York, either – where I live. 

Nevertheless, Freaky Friday was a good movie. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Published by Sunayna Prasad

I enjoy writing stories, creating artwork, watching movies and TV shows, cooking, and traveling. These are the topics of my posts. I also publish books, where you can learn about them on my website, Be sure to copy and paste the link and subscribe to my newsletter on the email list button on the homepage.

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