March 28, 1988 12:00 PM

So what if this movie has the same father-son transformation plot as last fall’s Like Father Like Son with Dudley Moore? (There are even similar jokes about dissecting a frog and a heavy metal concert.) Who cares if more films like it are on the way?—Big with Tom Hanks and 18 Again with George Burns. Vice Versa has one thing the others don’t: Judge Reinhold. He’s hilarious as a prissy vice-president of a Chicago department store who shows up one day with the mind of his energetic 11-year-old son. The boyishly charming Reinhold is a natural for the part. And with the help of director Brian (French Lesson) Gilbert and Water screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, Reinhold gets the mannerisms and language of an adolescent down pat. They extract laughs out of even predictable scenes—goofing off in the sporting goods department, or a parent-teacher conference at school. Fred (The Wonder Years) Savage, as the son turned father, is good too, especially when he barks orders at Reinhold. Forget about what causes the transformation. (It has to do with a magical skull Reinhold got in Thailand.) Just sit back and wait for Reinhold to change. You’ll feel like a kid again, too. (PG)

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