Freaky Friday is about a mother and daughter who magically exchange bodies for a day…. [This] production takes on a spooky, unexpected verisimilitude that ought to make it at least as interesting to adults as it is to children, perhaps even more so. Mary Rodgers's screenplay, based on her novel, supplies enough faintly Freudian undertones to pique a grownup's interest even further. Try to imagine how Annabel Andrews, a 13-year-old tomboy, must feel when she finds herself with a mature figure and a husband she suddenly starts calling "Daddy," and you begin to get the idea.
Rodgers's book concentrated mainly on Annabel and included a few soggy lessons in mutual understanding, but the movie is delightfully flip and evenhanded….
Most of the day's mishaps involve stock situations … and none of it is likely to whiz over the heads of viewers who can still count their ages on their fingers.
Janet Maslin, "Switcheroo," in Newsweek (copyright 1977 by Newsweek, Inc.; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), February 28, 1977, p. 72.