'Big' to 'Little': 6 Memorable Age-Swap Movies

9:00 AM 4/12/2019

by Jasmyne Bell

The Hollywood Reporter rounds up a list of movies that involve someone unexpectedly finding themselves in the body that has undergone a drastic age-change.

Tom Hanks in 'Big' and Marsai Martin in 'Little'
Tom Hanks in 'Big' and Marsai Martin in 'Little'
20th Century Fox/Photofest; Courtesy of UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

What would you do if you woke up and your body had significantly aged — or perhaps reverted to its former youth?

The following movies explore the hilarious (and nerve-wrecking) consequences of making a wish that was not thought through.

From Peggy Sue Got Married to Shazam!, this comedy trope has been drawing audiences to theaters for years. 

Below, see a list of the most memorable age-swap movies, including the most recent entries to the genre, Shazam! (which opened April 5) and Little (which hits theaters April 12).

  • 'Peggy Sue Got Married'

    1986

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Kathleen Turner plays Peggy Sue Bodell, a woman who attends her 25-year high school reunion after separating from her disloyal husband (and high school sweetheart), Charlie (Nicolas Cage). After reuniting with some of her friends, she is surprised and uncomfortable when Charlie also makes an appearance at the reunion. The awkwardness is diffused when the MC announces the reunion's "king and queen." When Peggy Sue is announced as the queen, she walks up to the stage, only to faint when they wheel out the cake. She wakes up, and it's 1960 again. With a fresh start, Peggy Sue finds herself taking advantage of her youth. But by starting over, she has to make the decision of whether or not to stay with Charlie, knowing it will end anyway. Reliving her senior year did not stop Peggy Sue from making mistakes, but it did remind her of the unexpected gifts that come out of them. 

  • 'Big'

    1988

    Photofest

    Tom Hanks stars as Josh Baskin, who at the beginning of the movie is a 12-year-old boy (David Moscow) who gets more than he bargained for when he made a wish at a carnival. After Josh is told he is too short to ride a carnival ride, he comes upon an antique fortune teller machine called Zoltar. When he puts a coin the machine and makes a wish to be "big," the mysterious game disperses him a card telling him his wish is granted. Josh is confused and spooked when he discovers that the machine was never plugged in. He wakes up the next morning to find himself in a new body — and he's 20 years older. Josh must find a way to return back to his kid self, but not without learning some "big" lessons along the way.

  • '13 Going on 30'

    2004

    Photofest

    After a mishap at her 13th-birthday party involving a mean prank and wish dust, Jenna Rink wakes up one morning as a 30-year-old woman (Jennifer Garner). In between finding out about her life that she missed out on for the past 17 years, and having to mend her relationship with her childhood best friend, Matty (Mark Ruffalo), Jenna learns how to navigate her glamorous life as a "flirty and thriving" 30-year-old.

  • '17 Again'

    2009

    Courtesy of Photofest

    In 1989, Mike O'Donnell's (Zac Efron) hopes and dreams are shut down when he comes to find out that his high school girlfriend, Scarlet (Allison Miller), is pregnant. Twenty years later, Mike (Matthew Perry) and Scarlet are separated, and he is forced to live with his wealthy best friend, Ned (Thomas Lennon). Later, he has a mysterious encounter with a janitor that sends him back to his 17-year-old self — but he is the only one who changed. Mike attends high school with his kids and has to resist urges to romance his still 37-year-old wife. He finds his way back to her at a basketball game when he runs off the court to chase Scarlet like he did in 1989 when he found out she was pregnant.

  • 'Shazam!'

    2019

    Courtesy of Warner Bros.

    In DC's newest movie Shazam!, Billy Batson, a middle school kid (Asher Angel), is chosen by a mysterious wizard to have the power to transform into a super hero called Shazam. When he morphs into the hero, he is also turned into a grown man (Zachary Levi). While learning about his powers and training himself to control them, Billy finds out that there is evil that awaits him.

  • 'Little'

    2019

    Eli Joshua Ade/Universal Pictures

    Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) is an overworked woman-in-charge who gets another chance at being a child when she insults a young girl who changes her to a kid. She and her assistant, April (Issa Rae), scramble to find a solution as they are forced to enroll a young Jordan in middle school, and April has to take over the company until Jordan finds a way to be a grown woman again.