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What a year last year was! With big budget flops and titanic sized blockbusters coming and going, drama pieces sending people home with steely expressions the market seemed unable to withstand many new breakout hits. Wrong. A little known director called Mark Waters was at hand and did what few could scarcely dream of doing: remake a classic and actually make it better than it’s original. Freaky Friday, staring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan was this film. They do make them like they used to!

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Movie
If someone were to tell you that a film would emerge into the cinemas that could be described as a comedy but without farce and without any such innuendo, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it surely couldn’t be a Hollywood flick. You may be quite right to think that, for so many movies these days are overly reliant on hideously clichéd grotesquery and R-rated rudeness that often morally offends rather than entertains. Perhaps a token of gratitude should therefore be presented to Disney for actually avoiding the usual enigma of comedy filmmaking and doing the untraditional. This is, after all, a PG-rated film for the whole family. It won’t condescend, won’t offend and certainly won’t rely on those typical traits a comedy these days can so easily depend on for laughs.

On with the review. Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan are superb together in this film and are more or less guaranteed to send you home with a smile plastered onto your face, regardless of your preference. The plot is simple, easy to grasp and very enjoyable to say the least. Curtis plays an uptight shrink, the typical strict mother you might say. Her daughter (Lohan) is drastically the opposite. She would rather hang out with the wrong kind of guy and take a ride on his wheels than stay at home with the broken family. As you might expect, neither mother nor daughter gets on. It’s a mad house that they live in and the newbie husband-to-be isn’t all to impressed with the state of affairs either. Paying a visit to the local Chinese restaurant proves more than its worth too when both of the troubled family members are ‘swapped’ during their overnight sleep after reading a mysterious fortune cookie. From then on the laughs, occasional tears and pure euphoria of the film unfolds memorably before your eyes. Disney hasn’t produced this much charm since Mary Poppins! You better believe it!

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Video
Given the standard visual treatment simply wouldn’t have been good enough for this flick, so it’s a good job Disney didn’t. Instead, they have treated it with the same respect that the film deserved. Colours are amazing! Being a very bright, very refreshing film in nature can often be hard to preserve on film, but here everything looks outstanding. Black levels are solid, grain is minimal and the 1.85:1 aspect couldn’t be better. In all, one of the better 1.85:1 prints of the year for sure.

Audio
Having lots of banging rock tunes and heavy dialogue driven sequences must have been a fair challenge to illustrate having only one provided Dolby track, but once again, fear not. Bass heavy and vocally absurd moments in the film are all very well preserved. I also found the blend between dialogue and music to be a smooth one, with frequent cut-ins seamlessly integrated throughout. Directional effects are in minimal quantity but are quite solid and upstanding.

Extras
One area of this DVD that could have been slightly improved is this section, sadly. The lack of a commentary was big blow, one that hurts. I would have simply loved to have heard all things ‘Freaky’ from the director and even cast members. But no such feature exists.

‘Backstage Pass with Lindsay Lohan’ is a fairly light offering that can be summarised in as many words as the title of the extra itself. It does, however, highlight just how cool Lohan and Curtis are.

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‘Freaky Bloopers’ offers a few minutes of laughs while the Alternate Endings (with directorial introduction) shows you a much blander version of the ending, from three different aspects.

The deleted scene (note the word ‘scene’ and not scenes) seems rather odd that it was included here (given its less than thirty second runtime) but it’s all welcome material.

The remainder of the disc is all musically related, so if the music of the film didn’t turn you on then you might want to skip this section. If however you loved them music, then this may just prove to be the best part of the disc. ‘Pinkslip Rocks!’ and the two music videos are those two last features in this lacklustre bundle.  

Lastly, the packaging. While it may remind you of a sherbert sweet wrapper, it does nicely and successfully reflect the refreshing aspects of the film. So too do the DVD’s menu screens. Overall this is a nicely presented package with far too few features for my liking to give it anything other than an average evaluation. A big shame, as this film really needed something much more in the way of extra content.

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Overall
While the extra features may leave something to be desired, the sound and image are all things good. The real reason to pay this DVD a visit though is the film itself.  It was easily one of the best film of its year and a film that (mark my words) will be hailed as a classic piece of twenty first century nostalgia ten years from now. If you don’t at least check it out you are seriously missing out on a brilliant, fun and refreshing film the whole family can enjoy without the need for it to be screened beforehand. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you care for its characters and most important of all, it will send you out with a huge smile. Most of us will be able to relate to this movie (regardless of gender) so go on, give it a go, I freaking dare ya!


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