If one can be a connoisseur of body swap movies, then I guess I am one. I have seen all three versions of Freaky Friday (Lohan / Leigh Curtis is easily the best). Both versions of Vice Versa (1930’s wins). Like Father Like Son, where Dudley Moore realises he is short grown up and as a kid. Even Prelude To A Kiss, where Meg Ryan body swaps with an old man and Alec Baldwin has to kiss her as an old man. Ugh! Anyway, this is a long, complex reasoning why I saw Its A Boy/Girl Thing, you have to be completist when it comes to high concept flicks. I did not go to see how bad Sharon Osbourne was at acting*.

The first thing I realised was that this is such an obvious high school movie plot, why hasn’t it been done before? Indeed Jock/Nerd body swaps, Popular/Brainy and so on seem to open up so many just about fruitful areas of the standard high school comedy that you would think bodies would be swapped left right and centre. But to throw sex into the mix perhaps overly confuses things. And indeed that is the case here. Not only do we have the brainy girl coaching the dumb jock inhabiting her body how to read Shakespeare, but he has to teach her how to throw. Cue a shocking over-use of “girls not being able to throw” joke. On the other hand the “what do I do with this penis” joke is only used once.

Frankly it takes Its A Boy/Girl Thing ages to get to the swap**, ages to get through the obvious culture clashes and only gains any sort of momentum when it decided to be a rom-com. Because the problem with a rom-com body swap film is the physical attraction issue. Its all well and good to fall in love with someones mind, but when their mind inhabits your body – er – well problems pop up. Are they physically attracted to themselves, and where does the mind/body split come in to decant where this romance comes from. Luckily neither have sex whilst in the wrong body, or perhaps the right bodies. And so instead the film shuffles its feet in an embarrassed way at the end looking for a moral. A moral which seems to be “even idiots have some insights into modern literature theory” (plausible) and “girls have innovative tactics for quarterbacking at American Football” (less plausible). Indeed the films sexual politics are very ambiguous. When the quarterback Woody first inhabits Nell’s body, one of the first things he does is dress up in a tarty fashion, replete with high heels OUT OF CHOICE. The second is to almost have sex with someone. He seems a lot more comfortable as a woman. But then this is typical of a film which wants its money shots, but does not want to invest any decent character moments to get there. And indeed has Sharon Osbourne in it.

Oh and female lead Samaire Armstong seems to have a tongue too big for her mouth. (Gratuitous insult.)

*Very. Very Odd too.

**Via the medium of an ancient Mexican statue, as opposed to Freaky Friday’s fortune cookie. It is nice to see them sticking with “ancient magic” traditions of the body swap genre.

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