Freaky Friday   review by Drusilla Blakey

Lately there have been a rave of bringing remakes to various musicals to movies and TV with hit and miss results. Now Disney is taking on one themselves with Freaky Friday: A New Musical based on Disney Theatrical Productions' stage adaptation of the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers. The new musical stars Cozi Zuehlsdorff as Ellie; Heidi Blickenstaff as Katherine; Ricky He as Adam;Alex Désert as Mike; and Jason Maybaum as Fletcher with Paul Blart: Mall Cop director Steve Carr at the helm.

 

Freaky Friday: A New Musical follows sixteen-year-old Ellie Blake and her uber-organized mom Katherine, who are constantly at odds about Ellie's messy room, sloppy clothes and seemingly careless attitude. Ellie really misses her dad who passed away a few years ago; she bickers with her younger brother and argues with Katherine who's getting ready to marry her fiancé, Mike – tomorrow.  As mother and daughter quarrel, they accidentally break the treasured hourglass given to Ellie by her father and then, suddenly, they magically switch bodies. Now, Ellie and Katherine must trade places at work and at school, and, during one crazy day, they'll learn to understand and appreciate each other. Many of us will remember this classic film from our childhood that starred the then cute and sweet Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis.  In that film, it was a fortune cookie at a magical Chinese Restaurant that caused the switch and brings them to a deeper understanding for each other.

 

In this new Disney Musical version, we have Cozi Zuehlsdorff, who some of you will recognize as the little girl from Dolphin Tale 1 & 2 and Heidi Blickenstaff.  This time we have a magical hourglass that causes them to switch places.  The craziness comes to life during this switch as the mom is planning to get married in a few days, and the daughter is dealing with major high school drama. The interesting thing this time, is that it isn’t just a 24 hour switch like in the first film.  This switch lasts a bit longer as our main characters try to figure out the lessons to be learned.

 

This version, unfortnately, wasn't as funny as I was expecting.  The songs were entertaining enough, but it took 2 or 3 songs to get into it.  Additionally, the mom's singing voice was a little bit pitchy and a tiny bit grating to my ear.  I think it works once the two switch places as she's acting more like the daughter and so it makes sense with her singing in her style.  But, the daughter actually has a much better voice and was a delight to watch!

 

The other characters in the movie are a little bit forgettable, which I found disappointing.  I feel like the family was much more prominent in the original film, and I wish they had been here too.  The dance sequences and big musical numbers are what you would expect from a Disney channel musical, but nothing over the top or amazing. 

 

Overall, I think tweens and their parents will find it entertaining and it's definitely a nice family friendly movie.  Plus fans of the original movie may find it a good watch as well.

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