Adult regrets, teen dreams

2009-04-19 00:00

Film Review: ‘17 Again’


Most of us would like the chance to go back in time and right our mistakes of the past with the benefit of hindsight. This is the premise of 17 Again, a film in the mould of 13 going on 30 and Freaky Friday. Teen dream Zac Efron starts his bid for more mature roles as he — rather improbably — plays the 17-year-old version of Matthew Perry’s character Mike.

Mike is middle-aged and unhappy, on the verge of divorcing his wife Scarlet (the lovely Leslie Mann) and losing the sympathy of his two teenage children. Back in 1989, Mike had the opportunity to win a basketball scholarship, but he threw it all away when he got Scarlet pregnant, so he blames her for the fact that his glory days are past. He is living with Ned, his wealthy but nerdy best friend from high school.

Then one night, assisted by a strange old man and some rather cheap CGI, he is transformed back into Zac Efron, his 17-year-old self, until he learns some lesson or other. Mike goes back to high school where he must reconnect with his kids, though of course they think he’s the cool new guy (cue humourous misunderstandings), and learn to appreciate Scarlet, before, tragically, he can become Matthew Perry again.

Efron is freakishly pretty, and certainly works it, baring muscles and flicking his fringe around.

He can carry a line, though, so maybe there’s a future for him as more than just a pretty face.

Most of the fun of this film comes from Ned’s embarrassing attempts to seduce the gorgeous school principal. All in all this is a rather mediocre film, though it is carried by a talented cast and there are some laughs to be had.


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