Falling solidly in the center of the “Freaky Friday”-style body swap movie, All Screwed Up features a switch between a nerdy African American high-school girl with ADD and a popular white male jock with ambitions of earning a college scholarship. It’s a walk a mile in my shoes kind of gender swap that offers some interesting wrinkles.
For one thing, the girl is an outcast, a poor dresser and an unwanted female who does not have to put up with any kind of boorish male attention. So, when the guy becomes her, he doesn’t find himself suffering from unwanted sexual attention as is often the case, but instead, he is either ignored or bullied and ridiculed, especially by his old girlfriend. He hates his life, and cannot imagine being stuck living as her not so much because he is now female but because as her he is a nobody. Her body also suffers from ADD, and he struggles as he experiences her inability to focus.
Meanwhile, the nerdy girl finds her new life thrilling as she goes to parties, gets to hang out with the cool kids and even is able to physically bully some of the guys. She flatly admits that she would rather stay HIM, and seems callous to his despair at being stuck in her body. She does get to talk to some of his friends about their bullying and tries to get them to stop, but it is clear she would rather be a dude and a protector than go back to being a nerdy girl victim. Of course, things can’t stay easy for her, and she eventually faces struggles when she tries to play his role as a basketball star and fails, consequently becoming the object of scorn and ridicule.
The boy, facing the reality that he may be stuck as her, eventually starts dressing cute and doing things to be more attractive, and he ultimately offers to remain in her body if it will make her happy. The two fall in love, and what I ultimately loved about this movie was this message- that it was the empathy they each gained, their understanding of the other’s lives, that let them fall in love and appreciate each other.
This can’t be called a perfect film, but the actors are game and do their best to bring these characters to life as people and not just types, and I felt for the characters as they went through their journeys. I gotta say I dug it, and if you want to check it out you can see it on Amazon.