The film is based on the novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers, in which mother and daughter switch bodies and get a taste of each others' lives. The cause of the switch is left unexplained in this film, but occurs one Friday the 13th, when Mrs. Andrews and Annabel, in different places, say about each other at the same time "I wish I could switch places with her for just one day." Rodgers added a waterskiing subplot to her screenplay. The cast also includes John Astin, Ruth Buzzi, Dick Van Patten, and Charlene Tilton.
The film begins as a short animated sequence as the song 'I'd Like To Be You For a Day' plays. The film then opens on Friday the 13th when Annabel Andrews (Jodie Foster), just after a quarrel with her mother, Ellen Andrews (Barbara Harris) leaves for school. Soon after, joining a friend at a diner, Annabel and her mother (in their kitchen) wish aloud, "I wish I could switch places with her for just one day" - and in a chaotic way, Annabel and Ellen suddenly do switch places.
Annabel has a crazy day with the washer and dryer, the mechanic, the carpet cleaners, the drape cleaners, Ms. Mary Kay, the grocery boy, their dog, and the alcoholic maid. Ellen ruins all the photos in photography class, destroys and explodes about eighteen typewriters, gets lost during marching band, and loses Annabel's field hockey game. She eventually just runs away to Bill Andrews' office. When she sees the young and attractive new secretary, she invades her work by explaining how vicious and tough a woman Ellen is. So, Ellen gets Annabel's braces off, then gets a makeover and a new wardrobe. During all this, Annabel (as Ellen) plays baseball with Ben (Sparky Marcus), (Annabel's brother whom she names Ape Face) and learns how Ben idolizes Annabel and adores whatever she does. Annabel also works a crush on an old friend, Boris Harris, who now has a huge crush on Mrs. Andrews.
Eventually, Bill (John Astin) calls Annabel (as Ellen) and forces her to cook dinner for twenty-five people which she, Ben, and Boris destroy in the making. Ellen (as Annabel) is eventually taken away to waterski for Bill's work. However, Ellen is tricked (by Bill) into flying away on the skis. Annabel, Boris, and Ben end up driving in Ellen's car and get in an epic and comical car chase with the police. While both flying through the air, Ellen and Annabel wish to return to their own bodies - which happens with a shocking twist: Ellen returns to her body but ends up waterskiing, and Annabel returns to her body but still ends up driving Ellen's car.
Annabel drives Ellen's car into the river, while Ellen, who has jumped onto a parachute kite, flies crazily into the river. She and Annabel happily forgive each other. In the ending scene, Annabel and Boris (who appear to be on the verge of going steady) and Ben are about to go out for pizza, while Ellen is unsuccessfully trying to tell Bill about the story. Bill refuses to believe it, and he and Ben quarrel about how fun a Saturday in each other's place would be. They each wish to be each other, and the film ends with them about to change places while Ellen nervously throws some playing cards into the air.
- Barbara Harris as Ellen Andrews/Annabel Andrews
- Jodie Foster as Annabel Andrews/Ellen Andrews
- John Astin as Bill Andrews
- Patsy Kelly as Mrs. Schmauss
- Dick Van Patten as Harold Jennings
- Vicki Shreck as Virginia
- Sorrell Booke as Mr. Dilk
- Alan Oppenheimer as Mr. Joffert
- Ruth Buzzi as Opposing coach
- Kaye Ballard as Coach Betsy
- Marc McClure as Boris Harris
- Marie Windsor as Mrs. Murphy
- Sparky Marcus as Ben Andrews
- Ceil Cabot as Miss McGuirk
- Brooke Mills as Mrs. Lucille Gibbons
- Karen Smith as Mary Kay Gilbert
- Marvin Kaplan as Carpet Cleaner
- Al Molinaro as Drapery man
- Iris Adrian as Bus passenger
- Barbara Walden as Mrs. Benson
- Shelly Jutner as Hilary Miller
- Charlene Tilton as Bambi
- Lori Rutherford as Jo-Jo
- Jack Sheldon as Lloyd
- Laurie Main as Mr. Mills
- Don Carter as Delivery boy
- Fuddle Bagley as Bus driver
- Fritz Feld as Mr. Jackman
- Dermott Downs as Harvey manager
- Jimmy Van Patten as Cashier
- Neither Barbara Harris nor Jodie Foster did any actual waterskiing in the film. In both cases, these scenes were achieved with the use of professional water-skiers in long shot on location, and cutaway shots of the actresses in front of a rear projection effect. Foster did, however, play field hockey in the film.
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