Producer Andrew Gunn and his collaborators, screenwriter Heather Hoch and director Mark Waters, update this relationship by making the mother, Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis), a widowed therapist about to remarry (her fiancé is played by Mark Harmon) who deals ably with people’s problems yet flounders with her own family. The daughter, Anna (Lindsay Lohan), is a member of an up-and-coming rock band.
“We knew if we were going to do this, it’d need some modern hook to it,” Gunn says. “So Heather came at it from the standpoint of what could propel this mother and daughter into a collision course that would force them to deal with each other.”
When they came up with the idea of Anna’s rock band getting a major audition at the House of Blues on the same night as her mother’s rehearsal dinner, the team knew they were on the right track.
“It’s amazing how funny it turned out, and also how poignant,” Gunn says. “As the daughter, Jamie makes a speech at the rehearsal dinner about her father that is really moving, while Lindsay, as the mother, goes on stage at the House of Blues, even though she can’t play guitar and makes a fool out of herself. But each one sacrifices something for the other and starts to understand the other one by doing so.”
Gunn goes on to say, “Being a teen-ager now is a lot more difficult than it was in 1976, so we really got into that.” But some themes, he points out, are timeless.
“My sister argued with my mother about everything when she was a teen-ager. And Jamie’s daughter is 16, so Jamie would have these scenes with Lindsay as her daughter on the set, then go home and do it all over again with her own daughter,” he chuckles. “That kind of universal relationship is what we wanted to deal with.”
All of which sounds just as timely today as it did a generation ago. The film is rated PG.