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On returning from a buying trip abroad for the department store in which he works, Marshall finds he is in possession of a strange ornamental skull. Marshall is divorced and is looking after his son Charlie for a few days. The skull has special powers, and when Marshall and Charlie simultaneously wish they were each others age, father and son exchange bodies. Now Charlie has to go to work, and Marshall to school. Charlie also has to deal with Marshall's girlfriend. If that weren't enough a pair of smugglers are in pursuit of the skull.Written by
VICE VERSA is basically a gender variation on the 1970s film FREAKY Friday, in which Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage play a bickering father and son whose roles are reversed thanks to a magical Thai artefact. I have to say that I always love the tinges of the supernatural in these family movies from the era; the writer goes out of his way to set up the story with the early scenes set in Thailand itself and featuring veteran actor James Hong in a typically creepy performance.
What follows soon turns into your usual 1980s-era comedy with much in common with the Tom Hanks movie BIG. It's also on the same level as that film, although it lacks a big and memorable set-piece like the Hanks/Loggia dance-off and the sight of Reinhold playing the drums doesn't really cut it. I'm always wary of these films as occasionally they become overly sentimental but I can report that VICE VERSA walks a fine line without ever crossing it. Fred Savage is excellent in a star-making turn (I used to love watching him in THE WONDER YEARS) and the underrated Reinhold holds his own against the greats of the decade. It's a fun and light movie, nothing more, but it holds your attention throughout.
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