Thirty years ago, Hollywood suddenly decided that body-swap films - in the realm of Disney’s classic 1976 Jodie Foster-starring comedy, Freaky Friday – were what audiences wanted. No fewer than three film variations on the same theme, Big, Vice Versa, and Like Father, Like Son with Dudley Moore, opened at cinemas.
Of the three, Penny Marshall’s Big, written by Steven Spielberg’s sister Anne, was the most fondly remembered, with Tom Hanks in Oscar-nominated form as Josh Baskin; a diminutive kid with a schoolboy crush on a girl, who is too small to go on a fairground ride and makes a wish that he could be bigger. Sure thing, the day after, he wakes up as a grown man at home, freaking his mother (Mercedes Ruehl) out and having to head to the city, where he becomes a hit at a toy store whilst wooing uptight female executive Suzanne Lawrence, as played by Elizabeth Perkins.
In the same way that Twilight introduced vampires and werewolves to the modern young adult generation, the new fantasy film Every Day – based on a novel by David Levithan – is going to tap in to a new generation in the same way the Big did for the ‘80s crowd.
Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) is your average confused and uncertain teenager, with a father on the ropes due to redundancy and a relationship with boyfriend Nathan (Justice Smith) that isn’t exactly going too well, if not going south. Things take a turn when a travelling spirit, simply known as ‘A’, starts infiltrating Nathan for a day or so, changing the dynamic. However, A has a desire to haunt others for a 24-hour period, thus impacting on Rhiannon’s perspective on her friends, family and boyfriend troubles….
Part of the charm of Big was the consistency of Josh’s predicament when he became an adult, retaining the same naïve perspective and the fact that how adults and children view life is markedly different. Josh’s rise to prominence in the executive boardroom at the toy company becomes less of an enlightening revelation than a power struggle, particularly with Susan’s ex-boyfriend, Paul Davenport (the late John Heard).
Every Day isn’t going to reach the heights of Big in terms of awards and box office take, but it will certainly be attractive on home video and streaming. It is a nice variant idea on the body-swap genre, but doesn’t fulfil its potential like Big, going full pelt with the consequences of the travelling spirit and how it affects the people it comes into contact with. At times though, some of the issues and themes it deals with are handled sensitively.
If you enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, you will find much to focus and appreciate here. Rice is competent as Rhiannon and nothing can be faulted in the teen cast, who do well with the script and idea.
There are moments of fun and humour on occasion, and older viewers will cheer when they see the much-loved Orion Pictures logo on screen again, harking back to when RoboCop, The Silence of the Lambs and the original 1984 The Terminator debuted in cinemas.
EVERY DAY / CERT: 12A / DIRECTOR: MICHAEL SUCSY / SCREENPLAY: JESSE ANDREWS / STARRING: ANGOURIE RICE, JUSTICE SMITH, DEBBY RYAN, JENNI ROSS, LUCAS JADE ZUMANN, RORY MCDONALD / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 20TH
Expecting Rating: 6 out of 10