Freaky Friday appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Some parts of Friday looked great, but the overall impression remained too flat for it to merit a grade above a “B-“.
Many of the concerns resulted from sharpness. Too much of the film came across as somewhat dull and soft. Granted, a lot of it seemed just fine and presented accurate and well defined images, but the fuzzy parts occurred too frequently. I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, but some light to moderate edge enhancement marred to presentation with relative frequency. The image lacked any source flaws, as I noticed no specks, marks, or other concerns of that sort. However, some artifacting appeared during more than a little of the movie.
A film with a pretty bright palette, Friday usually presented distinctive tones. The colors occasionally came across as a bit runny, but they mainly seemed positive. Most of the various vivid hues were tight and bold. Black levels appeared nicely dense and deep, while low-light shots offered good clarity and definition. Ultimately, Friday consistently remained watchable but erratic.
While much of Freaky Friday’s Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounded great, it lacked the scope to earn a high grade. The soundfield remained quite limited through most of the movie. Elements remained firmly anchored in the front speakers. Music managed to get decent reinforcement from the rear, especially when Anna’s band played. In addition, the two brief earthquake sequences kicked the surrounds to life in a small way.
Otherwise, however, the fronts heavily dominated. They offered good localization and movement, though. The forward speakers presented a fairly natural soundfield, but it still wasn’t terribly involving.
At least audio quality seemed terrific. Dialogue always sounded natural and distinctive, and I noticed no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects stayed minor for the most part; other than the earthquakes and Jake’s motorcycle, I recall little that made an impression. Nonetheless, the various elements sounded accurate and life-like. Music fared quite well. From the score to the many pop/rock songs, these all seemed vivid and lively, with clear highs and nice bass. Across the board, low-end response was firm and rich. Overall, Friday lost points due to its lack of ambition, but it sounded good enough to earn a “B”.
Despite the film’s success, Friday comes with only a small smattering of extras. Backstage Pass with Lindsay Lohan runs a mere seven minutes and 58 seconds. While it includes some quick interview snippets from producer Andrew Gunn, screenwriter Heather Hach, director Mark Waters, and actors Jamie Lee Curtis and Christina Vidal, mostly it follows Lohan as she goes through her average day. We see her arrive at the set, get her makeup, shoot some scenes, and go to school. We also get a little info about the original Friday and what they hoped to do with the update. Much of it consists of generic praise for all involved, though. This makes the piece drag and it never becomes terribly informative, but the glimpses behind the scenes seem fun.
The usual goofs pop up in Freaky Bloopers. This 127-second clip presents the standard kookiness and flubs. Nothing out of the ordinary appears here.
One deleted scene appears. It only lasts about 14 seconds as Anna clocks her rival. Director Waters explains why it was shot and why he dropped it during the 40-second piece. In addition, we find two alternate endings. In the 88-second compilation, we get one that strongly sets up a potential sequel and another that implies it. Both focus on Harry and his grandpa. Waters explains why the two possible endings got the boot. None of this material seems great, though I kind of preferred the second alternate to the actual ending.
Two music videos appear in the Freaky Jams domain: “What I Like About You” performed by Lillix and “Me vs. the World” done by Halo Friendlies. The former remakes the old Romantics hit and uses the traditional mix of movie clips and lipsynch footage. However, it turns more creative because the female bandmembers constantly attempt to use a “switch” pedal to flop positions with Lohan and nab her cute boyfriend. It’s definitely more fun than the average video. “World” features the same format and another girl band, but it seems less interesting. It attempts a plot in which a mean woman tries to shut down their garage performance, which makes it feel like an old Quiet Riot video.
A few minor Easter eggs pop up on the disc. From the “Freaky Jams” menu, highlight the headshot of Curtis and you’ll see 33 seconds of her as she badly mimes a guitar solo. From the main menu, click on the fortune cookie to get the two females to change their outfits.
The disc includes the usual complement of ads at the start of the disc. When you pop the platter in your player, you’ll find promos for Hidalgo, The Lion King 1 1/2, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, and various new 2-disc special editions for animated hits all included in the same ad. In addition, the Sneak Peeks domain features all of those trailers as well as additional bits for the Lilo & Stitch DVD Adventure Game and the Freaky Friday soundtrack.
We also get the THX Optimizer. This purports to help you set up your home theater to best present the movie on the disc in question. Apparently the Optimizer is unique for each DVD on which it’s included; unlike programs such as Video Essentials, the Optimizer should tweak your set-up differently every time. Frankly, I’ve been very happy with my already-established calibration and I’m afraid to muck with it, so I’ve never tried the Optimizer. If you lack calibration from Video Essentials or a similar program, or if you’re just more adventurous than I, the Optimizer could be a helpful addition.
Disney’s on a roll in 2003: with Pirates of the Caribbean and Freaky Friday, they turned potentially miserable movies into genuinely entertaining experiences. Friday proves likable and winning, as it maintains a charming piece that also adds a surprising number of solid laughs. The DVD seems pretty lackluster, unfortunately. Picture appears decent but erratic, while audio comes across as accurate but without much scope. The disc includes only a few minor extras. Friday is definitely enough fun to merit a screening, but the disc itself comes across as a minor disappointment.