Levitt Rates Body/-Swapping, Time-Travel Movies

Big- I just had sex with a 12 year old!


The Majority of the body swapping movie genre is from Man/woman to child.  Probably the most popular of these types of movies is “Big” with Tom Hanks.  Most consider this movie a likable, nostalgic look at youth and coming to grips with the demands of adulthood.  I have three main problems with this film: 1) Tom Hanks is known, in many movies such as Splash and his days on Bosom Buddies as being childishly playful and a major goofball. So, when it comes to him inhabiting the persona of a boy in Big I really didn’t see that much difference between this role and a lot of his light comedic roles.  If anything, he just upped the goofy/awkward thing just a touch.  2)  The second thing which bothered me about the film was that the Toy Company Boss automatically goes along with any nut-ball idea Hanks has about product development merely because Hanks’ character seems enthusiastic and interested in toys… Not exactly qualities which would normally set him apart in the toy industry. 3) finally, when Hanks’ character reveals to his work associate/lover that he’s really only 12 years old, the woman seems only mildly taken aback.  Most women who just found out they slept with a 12 year old would be majorly skeeved perhaps even in seeking religious guidance and indulging in multiple showers.  Maybe its just that this woman’s regular cut-off for romantic partners is 11 year olds.

13 Going on 30…going on what the $%&!


In this popular body swapping movie a girl suddenly jumps ahead from 13 to 30 and again a likeable girl, Jenna Rink played by a pre-Affleck divorce scarred Jennifer Garner learns how to navigate the tough, competitive waters of magazine publishing.  However, the girls transition to sudden womanhood is never really explained.  Prior to her pre-mature aging, she is presented with a home-made diorama given to her by her childhood friend, Matt (Mark Ruffalo).  Then suddenly, some “magic farie dust” shimmies off the diorama and transports her ahead 17 years in the future.  In the future, Garner’s character again befriends Ruffalo’s character and quickly realizes that he’s a really nice guy and definitely boyfriend material.  A jaded movie-viewer like myself, then, would conclude that Ruffalo’s character was actually an evil wizard who designed the diorama and Garner’s trek in the future all for the purposes of just getting himself laid.  At least it would give some semi-reasonable explanation for the film’s insane premise.

17 Again A grown man revisits his youth only to be boring


17 again is a mediocre body swapping/time travel movie that falls into the same dull mold.  Matthew Perry plays the adult version of the boy (in the film for about 10 minutes) and Zac Effron plays him as a teenager.  Aside from Effron making a very unconvincing man trapped in a boy’s body, the film does not allow the teenager the freedom to blow off steam.  The wish-fullfillment aspect of getting to revisit one’s youth is completely lost here.  Effron’s character is chivalrous, straight-laced, and even lectures his fellow classmates on temperance and love before sex.  How many of us if given the chance to go back to being a teenager would do any of that unless we became born again Christians?

Peggy Sue Got Married…She also boinked a beatnik!


Peggy Sue Got Married is not precisely a body swapping movie more of a time travel movie since Kathleen Turner is herself in the whole film. But because most of the cast views Peggy’s character as herself as a teenager (while she is knocked unconscious) I’m going to include it in this genre.  I believe this is one of the best if not the best film in this genre mainly because Kathleen Turner is able to effectively play both childhood exuberance and jaded adulthood with equal finesse. The film is also effective because it finally allows an adult with a second chance at youth to finally live out some dreams and have some fun. It is frankly amazing that in a genre so interested in  nostalgic youth, the film makers insist on making their  characters cling so fiercely to their boring, staid adulthood (ie  17 Again, Freaky Friday, Vice Versa). Instead,  Turner’s character tells off the class bully, raids the family liquor cabinet, befriends the class nerd, and even boffs her school beatnik. She is able to realize most of the things she thought her life was missing and-if the end result was less than completely satisfying- at least she was allowed by the film-makers to make the journey.


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