Vice Versa (1988 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Gilbert|
|Produced by||Dick Clement|
Ian La Frenais
|Written by||Ian La Frenais|
|Based on||Vice Versa|
by F. Anstey
|Music by||David Shire|
|Edited by||David Garfield|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$13.7 million|
Vice Versa is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Brian Gilbert and starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage. It is the fourth big screen adaptation of the 1882 novel of the same name by F. Anstey, following the British films released in 1916, 1937 and 1948. There was also a 1981 UK television series starring Peter Bowles and Iain Cuthbertson.
Marshall Seymour (Judge Reinhold) is Vice President of a Chicago department store, in charge of buying. He is divorced and has a son named Charlie (Fred Savage), whom he has little time for. He, and his girlfriend Sam (Corinne Bohrer) are on a trip to Thailand to purchase exotic merchandise. At the same time, an art thief named Turk (David Proval) tries to purchase the skull but has to find a way to smuggle it out of the country. He puts it with one of Marshall's purchases, so that he and his accomplice Lillian Brookmeyer (Swoosie Kurtz) can make a switch.
When Marshall returns, he takes Charlie for a few days while his mother, Robyn (Jane Kaczmarek), and stepfather Cliff, are vacationing. Tensions run high in the family since Charlie can't understand why his father can't be more involved in his life. While Charlie is holding the skull, they get into an argument about how they wish they could be in each other's bodies. It is revealed that the skull possesses magical powers, and after they both express a wish and touch the skull, Charlie grows up into his father's body, and Marshall shrinks into his son's body. After the initial shock, they each realize they must live out their lives as each other, and Marshall heads off to school to deal with tests, bullies and hockey practice, while Charlie resumes his role as a Vice President from an 11-year-old's viewpoint.
One night, Charlie goes out with Sam and takes her to see the rock band, Malice, which Marshall had told him he wasn’t allowed to go to. The date helps to improve Marshall's relationship with Sam.
Marshall and Charlie go to the museum and talk with Professor Kerschner (Elya Baskin), who explains the true nature of the skull and wishes to show it to a lama before giving it back to them. Robyn comes home earlier than expected. Not knowing what has transpired, she sees Charlie with a martini and is furious at both Charlie and Marshall.
After failing to get the skull back by asking nicely, the thieves embark on a mission to steal it. Charlie learns from Marshall's boss, Avery, that he has called a meeting to pull the plug on Marshall's business. He picks up Marshall from school and, after purchasing a device that will allow them to communicate with each other, Marshall listens in on the boardroom meeting and instructs Charlie on what to say. However, Turk ends up kidnapping Marshall, leaving Charlie to fend for himself in the boardroom. No longer able to speak eloquently, he stands up and lashes out in his father's defense before leaving the meeting.
With Turk and Lillian holding Marshall for ransom, Charlie tries to get the skull back from the lama. During this time, Marshall tries to explain to the thieves that he is not himself, and that he and his father have switched bodies because of the skull. Turk seriously considers what Marshall is saying, but Lillian dismisses the story as a ploy. When Charlie finally arrives with the skull, the switch is made and Marshall is returned. However, Marshall and Charlie rush to reacquire the skull so that they can switch themselves back. They manage to catch up with the thieves just after they themselves have accidentally switched bodies, and take the skull back from them, leaving Turk and Lillian in their new bodies as punishment.
The police arrest Charlie for possible kidnapping and Cliff bails him out; Charlie tells him that Robyn is not aware of what happened. Sam shows up and reports that Marshall still has a job, despite Charlie's outburst. He asks Sam to take him home so that he can give Charlie a present. On the way, Charlie proposes to Sam.
Charlie climbs up through his bedroom window and he and Marshall touch the skull, successfully switching back into their own bodies. Marshall then goes to see Sam while Charlie listens in to their conversation about the proposal. Though initially caught off guard, Marshall relents and embraces the proposal his son made for him.
- Judge Reinhold as Marshall Seymour / Charlie Seymour
- Fred Savage as Charlie Seymour / Marshall Seymour
- Corinne Bohrer as Sam
- Swoosie Kurtz as Lillian Brookmeyer / Turk (Credited as Tina)
- David Proval as Turk / Lillian Brookmeyer
- Jane Kaczmarek as Robyn Seymour
- William Prince as Stratford Avery
- Gloria Gifford as Marcie
- Beverly Archer as Jane Luttrell
- Harry Murphy as Larry
- Kevin O'Rourke as Brad
- Richard Kind as Floyd
- Chip Lucia as Cliff
- Elya Baskin as Professor Kerschner
- James Hong as Kwo
- Ajay Naidu as Dale Ferriera
- Jane Lynch as Ms. Lindstrom
- Jason Late as Erie
- P.J. Brown as Hockey Coach
- Steve Assad as Waiter
- Bernie Landis as Santa Claus
Critical and box office reaction
In popular culture
The film was mentioned in an episode of Clerks: The Animated Series by Randal Graves as an attempted bribery of being Dante Hicks' lawyer by telling the "honorable" Judge Reinhold that he [Randal] has seen all of his movies including Zandalee and Vice Versa.
In the Community episode "Basic Human Anatomy", Troy and Abed plan a day of watching Freaky Friday and all other movies with the same basic premise, including Vice Versa, the DVD of which Abed immediately throws away.
The film is referenced to in an episode of Difficult People.
- Vice Versa at Box Office Mojo
- "Vice Versa". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- "MOVIE REVIEWS : 'Vice Versa' Does the Father-and-Son Shuffle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- "Review/Film; 'Vice Versa,' A Comedy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : New Blood Refreshes Top Five". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- Vice Versa at Rotten Tomatoes