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. It is based on the book of the same name 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 Anna's rock band, which Tess dislikes, and Tess' upcoming wedding to Ryan (Mark Harmon), which Anna is not ready for emotionally since she still misses her father after his (unknown) death three years before. Also contributing to Anna's irritation is Stacey Hinkhouse, the "insane pyscho freak" who never seems to stop torturing her, and her English teacher, Mr. Bates, who always gives her an "F" on every assignment, no matter how hard she tries. When the Colemans, along with Ryan and Anna's grandfather, Alan, eat out at Pei-Pei's Chinese restaurant, Anna and Tess quickly start into a fight again: Anna wishes to participate with her band in a talent show, however it is the same night as Tess' rehearsal dinner. Hearing the argument, Pei-Pei's mother offers Anna and Tess fortune cookies. Upon opening them, there is a small earthquake which only they feel. The next day, Tess wakes up and discovers that she is in Anna's body. Likewise, Anna is in Tess' 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), they are forced into each other's roles. At school, Tess is given a "F" from Mr. Bates and realizes that he is an old classmate that he had asked her to the prom, which she refused and now he was taking it out on Anna. She confronts him in front of both of Anna's friends, humiliating him.
At work, Anna counsels the patients with some difficulty and then gives Tess' body a makeover, including new clothes, a new haircut, and pierced ears. At lunch, they go to the restaurant and talk to Pei-Pei. Furious at her mother's meddling but unable to directly help them, she advises them to read the fortunes in the cookies, as when they come true, they will swap back. They 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 her greatly, but provoked fights so that she'd pay attention to him. When Tess takes Anna's test, Stacey makes it look like she is cheating. She is able to finish it later with the help of Jake (Chad Michael Murray), an older student who Anna has a crush on (she also gets revenge on Stacey by erasing all of her answers and replacing them with "I'm Stupid!").
At the rehearsal dinner 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 him 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 one backstage. For the first time, Tess realizes how exciting it is to be on stage and why Anna loves her band.
Back at the dinner, Tess asks Anna to have Ryan postpone it, so that Anna won't have to go through marrying him in Tess' body. Instead, she proposes a toast where she accepts him. There is a second earthquake and Anna and Tess switch back into their own selves. At the wedding the next day, Anna's band performs and she gets a chance to dance with (and kiss) Jake. Pei-Pei's mother notices Harry and Alan fighting and offers them fortune cookies...which Pei-Pei manages to retrieve before they are opened.
- Jamie Lee Curtis as 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
- Rosalind Chao as Pei-Pei
- Lucille Soong as Pei-Pei's Mom
- 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 Annabel in the original film, would be interested to play the mother in the remake. She declined in order to spend more time with her family and because of concerns that the casting stunt would overshadow the film's overall merit. Annette Benning 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. That 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 film was a box office success, garnering a total of $110,222,438. Critics were mostly positive in their movie reviews and it 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. It was nominated for a Golden Globe (Best Leading Actress- Musical/Comedy) for Jamie Lee Curtis' performance as Tess.