I like to call this one “Big-Lite” even if that is a little mean.
A family movie that my parents watched when they were younger and then my siblings and I watched when we were kids was the original “Freaky Friday” with Barbara Harris and a very young Jodie Foster. This was the original. Had this concept been made before this one, I haven’t heard about it and don’t care to. This premise has spawned at least a dozen more other films of the like, including the recent (and terrible) “The Change-Up.”
I feel that “Vice Versa” surpasses “Freaky Friday” in the overall entertainment department.
Judge Reinhold is one of the most enjoyable comedic actors I watched growing up. No one I know can make the large and hilarious facial expressions that he can–without saying a word–and make people laugh-out-loud like he could. I loved him in both “Beverly Hills Cop” movies (I know there was a third one, I don’t count it), “Ruthless People” was good when he was on screen, and his guest appearance on “Seinfeld” as the boyfriend of Elaine who was obsessed with being with Jerry’s parents was one-of-a-kind (he received an Emmy nomination).
“Vice Versa” is Reinhold at his best. I feel that “the sell” for movies like this, is having the actors create such distinct characteristics when they are in “their own skin” that when you see them portray their counter-part…it is believable. I feel that Reinhold and Fred Savage did a great job communicating off screen about their approaches–and it shows very well on screen.
Reinhold has a child-like joy in his eye at each moment after the “change” and he never waivers from it. Savage needs to be given credit as well for creating an “adult” child that reminds me of Spok in a way. This comes out in a scene where he is being bullied by kids at school and tries to use “logic” as a shield. It doesn’t work out.
I have many favorite scenes in this film, most of them involving Reinhold. I think my favorite is when Reinhold gets his revenge on the bullies at school. It’s not what you might expect, but the punishment exceeds their past crimes and gives us a great laugh. Watching his elation in the hallway after doling out their penance is electric and those of us that were bullied (everyone) wishes they could do the same.
At the end of the day, this is a family movie for all ages and a father and son learn how to truly respect and enjoy each other on this journey that they take together.
I don’t know anything about Judge Reinhold the person. We always hear stories about Tom Hanks and how wonderful a person he is and that he is friendly. I want to believe the same about Judge Reinhold. In the interviews that I have scene, and the film choices that he has made, he seems like a person that would have a lot of great stories to tell on “game nights” with a cold beer in his hand. I want to keep that impression of him in my mind and “Vice Versa” has a lot to do with that.
Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be able to play horseshoes, and he can tell us about being noticed by some fans in the airport as the guy who was “jerking off.”