This is the third time this film has been made by Disney, and the second in ten years. The original was made in 1976, and a 1995 television remake was produced for ABC. This story is based on the book of the same title by Mary Rodgers.
Anna Coleman (Lindsay Lohan) is a rebellious teenager who constantly fights with her stuffy mother Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) and annoying younger brother Harry. Sources of irritation include a rock band Anna's in, which her mother dislikes, and Tess's upcoming wedding to a man named Ryan (Mark Harmon), which Anna is not ready for emotionally since she still misses her father after his (unknown) death three years ago. Also contributing to Anna's irritation is Stacey Hinkhouse, the "insane pyscho freak" who never seems to stop torturing her, and Anna's English teacher, Mr. Bates, who always gives her an F on every assignment, no matter how hard she tries. When the family, along with Ryan and Anna's grandfather, eat out in a Chinese restaurant, Anna and Tess quickly start into a fight again: Anna wishes to participate with the rest of her band in a talent show, however the show is the same night as Tess's wedding rehearsal. Hearing the argument, an elderly Chinese woman offers Anna and Tess both fortune cookies. Upon opening them, there is a small earthquake which only the pair feel. The next day, Tess wakes up and discovers that she is in Anna's body. Likewise, Anna is in her mother's body. Confused, they decide to go back to the restaurant at lunch to find out what happened. Since Anna has an important test and Tess must go to work (as a psychologist, some of the patients are dependent on her), the two are forced into each other's roles. At school, Tess is given a bad grade from Mr. Bates and realizes that he had asked her when they were younger to a dance, which she refused and now he was taking it out on Anna. Tess confronts Mr. Bates in front of both of Anna's friends, humiliating him.
At work, Anna counsels the patients with some difficulty and then gives her mother's body a makeover, including new clothes, a new haircut, and an ear piercing. At lunch, the two go to the restaurant and talk to Pei-Pei, the daughter of the woman that gave them the fortune cookies. Furious at her mother's meddling but unable to directly help them, Pei-Pei advises them to read the fortunes in the cookies, as when the fortunes come true, they will swap back. The fortunes tell that "when what you gain is what you lack, then selfless love will change you back", leaving them just as confused. In the afternoon, Anna attends Harry's parent-teacher conference, where she learns that he secretly admired his sister greatly, but provoked fights so that she'd pay attention to him. When Tess took Anna's test, Stacey made it look like Tess was cheating. Tess is able to finish the test later with the help of Jake (Chad Michael Murray), an older student that Anna had a crush on (she also gets revenge on Stacey by erasing all of Stacey's answers and replacing them with "I'm Stupid!").
At the wedding rehearsal that evening, Anna's bandmates come to try to convince "Anna" to go to the audition. Ryan gives her permission and tells "Tess" that he wanted Anna to accept him into the family on her own. Seeing Ryan in a new light, Anna leaves to watch her band perform. At the audition, Tess is unable to play the guitar so Anna unplugs it and plays another guitar backstage. For the first time, Tess realizes how exciting it is to be on stage and why Anna loves the rock band.
Back at the wedding, Tess asks Anna to have Ryan postpone the wedding, so that Anna won't have to go through marrying him in her mother's body. Instead, Anna proposes a toast where she accepts Ryan. There is a second earthquake and Anna and Tess switch back into their own bodies. At the wedding the next day, Anna's band performs and Anna gets a chance to dance with (and kiss) Jake. Pei-Pei's mother notices Harry and his grandfather fighting and offers them fortune cookies...which Pei-Pei manages to retrieve before they are opened.
- Jamie Lee Curtis as Dr. Tess Coleman
- Lindsay Lohan as Anna Coleman
- Mark Harmon as Ryan
- Harold Gould as Allen Coleman
- Chad Michael Murray as Jake
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Mr. Elton Bates
- Christina Vidal as Maddie
- Ryan Malgarini as Harry Coleman
- Haley Hudson as Peg
- Lucille Soong as Pei-Pei's Mom
- Rosalind Chao as Pei-Pei
- Willie Garson as Evan
- Dina Waters as Dottie Robertson (Dina Spybey)
- Julie Gonzalo as Stacey Hinkhouse
- Christina Marie Walter as Same Shirt Girl
- Chris Carlberg as Ethan the Drummer
- Danny Rubin as Scott the Bassist
The film's producer Andrew Gunn said he initially hoped Jodie Foster (who played the daughter Annabel in the original film, "Freaky Friday", (1976) would be interested to play the mother in the remake. Foster declined in order to spend more time with her family and because of concerns that the casting stunt would overshadow the movie's overall merit. Annette Bening was then cast in the role, but dropped out because of family obligations.
Jamie Lee Curtis was given the role only four days before filming began. Marc McClure, who played Boris Harris, Annabel's love interest in the original film, has a brief cameo as Boris the delivery man. Director Mark Waters also makes a cameo holding a baby at the wedding. Also, in the end scene when Anna is dancing with Jake, there is a woman in the background dancing with an older gentleman, and she looks directly at the camera. This woman is Lindsay Lohan's mother, Dina Lohan. The snapshots in the opening credits are photos of Jamie Lee Curtis and her daughter, Annie Guest.
The movie was a box office success, garnering a total of $110,222,438. Critics were mostly positive in their movie reviews and the film currently garners a "B" grade on Yahoo! movies, an 88% "Certified Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a score of 6.6/10 on Imdb. The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe (Best Leading Actress- Musical/Comedy) for Jamie Lee Curtis's performance as Tess.