Body swap movies have become staples in the cinematic comedy genre (over 35+ to be exact) going all the way back to 1940’s “Turnabout” to Debbie Reynolds in “Goodbye Charlie” to “Freaky Friday,” “13 going on 30” and now “Mack and Rita.”
When 30-year-old Mack Martin (Elizabeth Lail) reluctantly joins a Palm Springs, Calif., bachelorette trip for her best friend Carla (Taylour Paige), her inner 70-year-old gets released — literally. The frustrated writer and influencer magically transforms into her future self: Aunt Rita (Diane Keaton). Freed from the constraints of other people’s expectations, Rita comes into her own, becoming an unlikely social media sensation and sparking a tentative romance with Mack’s adorable dog-sitter, Jack (Dustin Milligan).
Directed by Katie Aselton, Diane Keaton can literally make any scenario comical. Witnessing her turning Rita into stylish, senior influencer is fun, especially a scene where she attempts to navigate a pilates reformer in class. It kinda reminds me of the first time I attended Soul Cycle and literally left my soul on the bike. Mack (a hilariously cool Elizabeth Lail), is a young woman whose energy and aura is more senior like than a millenial and like most is desperately trying to figure out what her purpose is at this point in her life.
Diane Keaton has always embraced what is uniquely quirky about herself. It’s one of the many reasons fans will circle back repeatedly to witness her comedic prowess in film after film. Keaton does not disappoint with the physical comedy and otherwise, but taking the heart of Mack while vacationing her body to have a little May – December is super cool. Not for the fact that she’s a seasoned woman attracted to a young man, but that the young man seems to be equally interested and not bothered at all about the age difference. Just goes to show that age truly is nothing but a number and not for nothing but Rita’s sense of fashion and not a care in the world attitude is refreshing to witness.
What’s even more refreshing is that Rita has a crew (Loretta Devine, Wendie Malick, Amy Hill and Lois Smith) who get into her influencer vibe and support even after discovering the truth. Body swapping flicks may have been released and produced repeatedly over the decades, but it won’t stop audiences from becoming invested in the hope, joy and positivity that comes along with them. Nor will they halt us from wondering what it would be someone else for just a little while. I don’t know about you, but the grass always seems greener in someone else’s yard, until you have a chance to walk around, spend some time and realize that your yard and grass are just fine.
Produced by Caliwood Pictures for Gravitas Ventures, Mack and Rita is in theaters now.