Freaky: The best body swap movies from 13 Going On 30 to Freaky Friday

From Big to Freaky Friday, body swapping has always been popular in movies (Picture: Rex)

Vince Vaughn’s new horror comedy Freaky has hit UK cinemas, heralding another film making full use of the popular and timeless body swapping trope in movies.

From 1941’s Here Comes Mr Jordan, an Oscar-winner for both best story and best screenplay, which sees a boxer (Robert Montgomery) mistakenly sent to Heaven before his time get a second chance back on earth in the body of a crooked banker, Hollywood has returned to the plot device successfully time and time again.

Get ready for a big dose of nostalgia as we look at some of the best.

Freaky Friday

This is a remake of Disney’s 1976 original with Jodie Foster, but the 2003 version excelled with the perfect casting of Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan as the mother and daughter duo who fail to understand one another until fate (well, a magical Chinese fortune cookie) intervenes and they’re forced to take the wheel in each other’s body.

Curtis shows she’s more than up for getting stuck in to the comedy, while Lohan was in the middle of a run of successful films with Disney and just about to take on the iconic Mean Girls.

Freaky Friday is a huge fan favourite (Picture: Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Big

Probably the big cheese of body swap comedies, although rather than being with someone else, 12-year-old Josh wishes to be ‘big’ on an arcade fortune teller machine and wakes up the next morning in his adult, Tom Hanks body.

A favourite scene in the film of many is Hanks’ gleeful performance on a Walking Piano with his toy company boss, which leads to Josh’s chance to be a toy developer while he bides his time with best friend Billy as they try to get back to the travelling Zoltar machine.

The film netted Hanks his first best actor Oscar nomination and is a nostalgic treat, although the tentative work romance between really tweenage Josh and actual adult Susan hasn’t aged brilliantly since 1988.

The scene from Big that launched a thousand recreations (Picture: Brian Hamill/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock)

13 Going on 30

Basically, the girl version of Big – but also different enough and delightful in its own way. Jennifer Garner’s Jenna is a result of magic wishing dust at her 13-year-old alter-ego’s traumatic birthday party, which sees her wake up as the 30-year-old editor of her favourite fashion magazine, Poise.

Despite all of her dreams having seemingly come true, we gradually learn grown-up Jenna might not be all tweenage Jenna hoped she would be, mainly with the help of her grown-up ex-best-friend, Matty, who Jenna hadn’t seen since that fateful party.

Highlights of 13 Going on 30 include a full-on dance scene featuring Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Christa B. Allen’s uncanny resemblance to Garner and all of Mark Ruffalo.

Jenna living her best New York life (Picture: Columbia Tri Star/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Your Name

A cute but poignant gem of a body-swap film, Your Name is a Japanese animated romantic fantasy film that follows rural-set high schooler Mitshua as she inexplicably begins to swap bodies with Tokyo-based teenager Taki.

At first believing their experiences to be vivid dreams, the duo eventually work out they can communicate with each other by leaving written messages, and their body swapping begins to affect the lives of each other.

As their inevitable attachment begins to grow, Your Name is not afraid of taking its audience to unexpected places or dragging them through the mill emotionally.

If you want to feel, watch Your Name (Picture: CoMix Wave Films)

The Change Up

You know, the one with Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds when they were first dominating the frat-boy comedy genre.

Although not exactly a darling of the critics, The Change Up is a fun, light-hearted film with a great cast (also including Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde and Alan Arkin) that sees best friends with contrasting lifestyles wish for each other’s lives as they drunkenly urinate into a fountain.

The Change Up enjoys the chaos of its premise as each friend wreaks havoc in the other’s life, accidentally and not so accidentally.

Like Father Like Son

Back to the 80s with Like Father Like Son, where Dudley Moore is a surgeon father and Kirk Cameron his high school senior son Chris, and the pair don’t see eye-to-eye on Chris having a future in medicine.

This time its Brain Transference Serum that allows for the body swapping, which takes place as they argue over a C grade Chris got on an important test.

As expected, a surgeon’s body can cause an awful lot of havoc at work when piloted by a very unqualified teenager, and a know-it-all medical professional doesn’t exactly go over well with the other kids at school.

Face/Off

Nicholas Cage and John Travolta as sworn enemies, one an FBI Special Agent and the other a homicidal sociopath and terrorist (obviously Cage), who assume each other’s physical appearances via the magic of experimental face transplant surgery – need we say more?

As bonkers and brilliant as it sounds, although Face/Off doesn’t follow the literal body swap guidelines, it still has fun with the chaos of mistaken identity and the devastation that it can cause, especially when one of you is a terrorist.

It’s a campy 90s blockbuster treat from director John Woo.

John Travolta and Nicholas Cage committing in Face/Off (Picture: Paramount/Touchstone/Kobal/Shutterstock)

17 Again

A reverse Big, in 17 Again Mike goes from dissatisfied 37-year-old Matthew Perry to 17-year-old Zac Efron after a chance encounter, which offers him the chance to do his life over after abandoning his college and basketball dreams to support his pregnant teenage girlfriend, who 20 years later is divorcing him while he has a career crisis.

Matthew Perry struggling with life before he becomes his young Zac Efron self (Picture: Offspring Ent/Kobal/Shutterstock)

More: Lindsay Lohan

The fantasy comedy does a good job of balancing the parts for both Efron and Perry to shine in a cast that also includes Leslie Mann, Michelle Trachtenberg and Thomas Lennon.

Freaky is in UK cinemas now.

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