Vice Versa (1988 film)

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Vice Versa
Vice Versa (1988 movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian Gilbert
Produced by Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais
Written by Ian La Frenais
Dick Clement
Based on Vice Versa 
by F. Anstey
Starring Judge Reinhold
Fred Savage
Swoosie Kurtz
Music by David Shire
Cinematography King Baggot
Edited by David Garfield
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • March 11, 1988 (1988-03-11)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $13,664,060[1]

Vice Versa is a 1988 comedy film starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage. It is the fourth screen adaptation of the 1882 novel of the same name by F. Anstey. Three previous adaptations were released in the UK in 1916, 1937 and 1948.

Preceded in 1987 by Like Father Like Son, it was released three months before a similar age-changing 1980s comedy, Big.

Plot[edit]

In Thailand, a pair of thieves steal an ancient skull from a Buddhist monastery.

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, along with 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 Tina Brooks (Swoosie Kurtz) can make a switch with a ginger jar that Marshall purchased that was replaced with the skull.

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 promised to take him to, but changed his mind at the last second. 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 behind the skull and wishes to show it to a (Llama) before giving it back to them. Robyn comes home earlier than expected and is furious when she sees Charlie drinking. (Not knowing he is 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 Tina holding Marshall for ransom, Charlie tries to get the skull back from the (Llama). During this time, Marshall tries to explain to the thieves that he is not himself, and that he and his father have switched bodies due to the skull. Turk seriously considers what Marshall is saying, but Tina 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 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 Tina in their new bodies as punishment.

The police arrest Charlie for possible kidnapping and Cliff bails him out, who 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.

Cast[edit]

Critical and box office reaction[edit]

The film received mixed reviews,[2][3][4] and flopped at the box-office.[5] The film was given a score of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes.[6] It grossed $13,664,060 in the USA on its theatrical run.[1]

In popular culture[edit]

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 an episode of Community, Troy and Abed plan a day of watching Freaky Friday (film) and all other movies with the same basic premise, including Vice Versa, the DVD of which Abed immediately throws away.

References[edit]

External links[edit]