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In an airport hotel on the outskirts of Paris, a Silicon Valley engineer abruptly chucks his job, breaks things off with his wife, and holes up in his room. Soon, fate draws him and a young French maid together.
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
An ancient, mystical skull stolen from a Thai temple makes trouble for our two stars. Judge Reinhold is divorced, workaholic department store executive Marshall Seymour, Fred Savage is his 11 year old son Charlie. The skull magically allows them to switch bodies. Now Marshall has to deal with school, bullies, and a teacher he thinks is a harridan, and Charlie has to bluff his way through Marshalls' job, and deal with the needs of Marshalls' girlfriend Sam (Corinne Bohrer).
As this "body switch" genre goes (it was certainly popular during this period), this is definitely one of the better ones. It may be the furthest thing from original, but it works rather well thanks to some bright writing from Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais (whose other credits in both film and TV are numerous). They commit to being at least somewhat believable, but the real bright spots of the picture are Reinhold & Savage. They totally commit to their characters and situation, and are a blast to watch. Of course, the expected reactions from onlookers when "Charlie" talks nothing like an 11 year old, and "Marshall" gets frequently befuddled, add to the merriment. And young Charlie is an aspiring musician and hair metal enthusiast (!), so watching Reinhold jam on the drums is a welcome highlight.
The cast is rock solid and full of familiar faces: Swoosie Kurtz, David Proval, Jane Kaczmarek, William Prince, Gloria Gifford, Beverly Archer, Richard Kind, Ajay Naidu (just a kid himself then), Elya Baskin, James Hong, and Jane Lynch (in her film debut). Under-rated 80s babe Bohrer is charming as the love interest; Kurtz and Proval are appropriately odious villains. Reinhold, who saw his career start to head South after the box office failure of this one, really doesn't get enough credit for this performance, and young Savage is equally his match, the way that he spews out some of his dialogue.
Like a lot of stories, it eventually builds to an action-packed finale, which is amusing to say the least.
Good of its kind; it may follow an ancient Hollywood formula, to be sure, but it sill wins one over. It's got some real heart as it spins its "walking a mile in another persons' shoes" yarn.
Seven out of 10.
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