17 Again

Everybody reaches a point in their life where they wish they could be a teenager again. They go on and on about how they would do things differently to make their current lives better. Whether it be to actually pay attention in class, join the baseball team, ask out the girl they thought they didn’t have a chance with, but actually did. The list goes on and on. That’s where it ends, though. All talk and no action, since there is no plausible way to go back to your past.

Unless your name is Mike O’Donnel (Matthew Perry/Zac Efron). Nothing is going right in his life. His wife, Scarlett (Leslie Mann) is divorcing him, his children, Maggie (Michelle Trachtenberg) & Alex (Sterling Knight) don’t are drifting away from him and he didn’t get the promotion he thought he was getting at work. He goes back to his old school to relive his glory days (via looking at his old photo/awards). There he meets a janitor (Brian Doyle-Murray) who, unbeknownst to Mike, grants him the wish to be seventeen again. How does this happen? Mike sees the janitor jump off of a bridge and, when he goes to help, gets sucked into a time warp.

When he discovers he’s seventeen again, he enlists his friend, Ned Gold (Thomas Lennon), to aid him in getting him back into his old school to relive his glory days. While there, he helps his son get on the basketball team, watches over his daughter while she dates the school bully Stan (Hunter Parrish) and hits on his wife (which comes off as creepy instead of funny).

I’m going to start off with the time warp. I’ll admit, it’s outlandish. But, as weird as it is, I can’t think of any other way to have converted Mike back into a teenager. Besides, if you’ve already accepted the fact that a man can transform back into his teenage self, then a simple time warp shouldn’t hinder you.

Now that the time warp’s out of the way, onto the comedy. It’s not too bad. There are some genuine laughs (many coming from Thomas Lennon, which is no surprise). Zac Efron does a good job with the facial expressions and acting as if he’s a 37-year-old man in a 17 year-old’s body. His interaction with his son and daughter as if he was their father (especially the scene where he forbids Maggie from seeing Stan) are very funny.

The scenes in which he hits on his wife, however, is creepy. I know that was the intention, but I don’t think the intention was to turn the viewer off. I believe the intention was “Ew, he’s hitting on his wife who is now double his age. Ha ha ha!” Instead, I felt uneasy and was turned off of it. The fact that it happens quite a few times is very off-putting.

As I briefly touched upon earlier, Zac Efron is very good in his role. I haven’t seen any of the High School Musicals, with my only encounter of him coming from Hairspray. There he was decent, but showed his inexperience. Two years later, it shows he’s been doing his homework, as he’s more comfortable in his role. I see big things for him in the future.

17 Again is anything but original, but it is moderately entertaining. Zac Efron shows promise for a great career, Thomas Lennon is his usual funny self and the plot, though at time weird, is light and fluffy. Worth a watch on a rainy day.

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