December 13, 2010

Opposite Day (2010)

CHILD/ADULT ROLE-REVERSAL MOVIES are nothing new. Freaky Friday, Vice Versa, 18 Again!…

So what does Opposite Day offer the genre? Dash and I pressed Play to find out…


Two siblings, Sammy (Billy Unger) and Carla (Ariel Winter), are disappointed when their workaholic parents send them on vacation with their grandparents to a cabin in the nearby mountains. Back in town, a team of scientists (led by French Stewart) concocts a powerful formula that switches behaviors of adults and children, when it suddenly goes awry and blankets the whole town – just at the same moment that Sammy, on his vacation with Carla and their grandparents, wishes that kids could rule the world. When Sammy and Carla return from their trip, they find their dad Robert (Pauly Shore), mom Denise (Colleen Crabtree) and all the other adults behaving like children, while the youngsters are running the town.


Sadly and ironically, the big weak link in Opposite Day is the large cast of pre-teen children. Many of the kids are less than convincing when delivering adult dialogue – leaving the film’s two kid stars, Unger and Winter, to pick up the slack. Watching the dozens of 10-year-olds in the movie have extended conversations using adult-sized words is draining (though strangely, it did make me want to revisit Bugsy Malone).

That’s not to say that there aren’t a couple of cute touches to the adult/kid switcheroo. The funniest bit is when a pint-sized policeman takes Sammy and Carla’s grandparents to jail and books them – using finger cuffs for handcuffs, finger paints for fingerprints, and a Sears-like portrait backdrop for their mug shots.

It was also occasionally amusing to listen to the kids as they try to discipline their child-like parents (of which Stewart does the best job of acting juvenile). Those of you with children will smirk and nod while hearing kids bark out oh-so-familiar parenting phrases such as “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you,” “Don’t make me come back there,” “Because I said so,” and the classic “I don’t care whose idea it was, both of you clean up this mess now!”

Opposite Day looks like it took a lot of effort to put together, and the fact that that effort is visible on-screen is not a good thing. Nearly everything seems forced, particularly the kids’ performances and director R. Michael Givens’ attempt to stretch a one-note plot into a 90-minute film. It could easily pass as one of those live-action, made-for-Disney-Channel movies; I wouldn’t say that’s a good thing, either.

What did Dash think?
While he did chuckle a couple of times and stayed with Opposite Day till the end, he said with a wrinkled face, “It was just okay” – probably because he’s too young to know to say, “meh.”

Will your kids like it?
While is Opposite Day is rated G and is suitable for all ages, I can’t imagine kids younger than the film’s cast members having the tolerance or attention span to sit through the whole thing.

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
She may think the premise is cute, but she and your kids would no doubt have a better experience with any of three role-reversal films I mentioned at the top. the "WEA-sel" doesn't want broccoli...? Tough noogies.

Opposite Day
* Director: R. Michael Givens
* Screenwriter: Max Botkin
* Stars: Billy Unger, Ariel Winter, Pauly Shore, Colleen Crabtree, French Stewart, Dick Van Patten
* MPAA Rating: G

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Budd said...

I would suggest knucklehead. My kids quite enjoyed it.

Gemma said...

Good review, FF. I really liked Freaky Friday, although I must admit I haven't seen any of the others.


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