From Freaky Friday, to Big and 13 Going On 30, body switching movies are a comedy staple that screenwriters use to not only make us laugh, but to teach us something about being who we are. Unfortunately, in most cases, they are one-note films that don’t have a lot to offer other than laughing at the characters after they go through the change. Mack & Rita is more of the same, and might have just been better left as a TV movie of the week, instead of being a theatrical release.
Mack (Elizabeth Lail, Ordinary Joe) is a 30-year-old writer. She always felt like she was an old soul trapped in a young body. In most cases she fights against her instincts. She goes along with the flow so she could be part of the group. But during a bachelorette party in Palm Springs all of that changes when she falls asleep in a repurposed tanning bed and emerges as a 70-year-old woman. Calling herself Rita (Diane Keaton, Poms) and pretending to be her own aunt, Mack tries to find a way to switch back to her old self. She does this while having an opportunity to see what it would be like to really be 70. And mor eimportantly,to be more confident in her life as well.
Mack & Rita is a silly movie, full of fluff and a very obvious message. Diane Keaton appears to have fun playing the role however. This is obvious when she demonstrates her physical comedy skills. Specifically, during scenes when she taking a Pilates class or when she trips out on shrooms. Even watching her flirt with her young neighbour Jack (Dustin Milligan, Schitt’s Creek) is entertaining to watch. And somehow, that scene is not as icky as it sounds.
Unfortunately, these bits are just that, bits of a larger movie that doesn’t necessarily fit together all that well. In fact the movie might have flowed better with out all the side misadventures. They could just let Mack be the old soul she wants to be and learn her lesson that way. The film also could have done with fewer generational clichés. The millennial characters are always on the phone while the cast’s older generation sitting around drinking wine every day. Sure clichés can be funny, but having too many of them gets, old, quickly.
In the end we get it, we should always be ourselves, but Mack and Rita can learn her lesson in a much different way. The screenwriters could have focused their story a little more on a the serious note. In turn, they needed to focus a little less on the goofiness.
- Rated: PG-13
- Genre: Comedy
- Release Date: 8/12/2022
- Directed by: Katie Aselton
- Starring: Amy Hill, Diane Keaton, Dustin Milligan, Elizabeth Lail, Lois Smith, Loretta Devine, Martin Short, Simon Rex, Taylour Paige, Wendie Malick
- Produced by: Alex Saks, Diane Keaton, Dori A. Rath, Jina Panebianco
- Written by: Madeline Walter, Paul Welsh
- Studio: CaliWood Pictures, Hercules Film Fund, Hungry Bull Productions, Page Fifty-Four Pictures