Monday, May 4, 2009

17 Again: Review

In the grand tradition (okay, humorous if not grand) of Big, 13 Going on 30, Freaky Friday, Like Father, Like Son and 18 Again! (with George Burns, it's really funny), we now have with Zac Efron and Matthew Perry as the 17 and 37 year old versions of Mike O'Donnell, a high school basketball star who ends up married to his high school girlfriend right out of high school, forgoing a future as a basketball star and/or college graduate. He ends up at 37 bitter about life and blaming everyone but himself. His wife, the hysterical Leslie Mann, has kicked him out and his children (Michelle Trachtenberg and Sterline Knight) don't really like him. He's staying with his best friend from high school, Ned Gold (wonderfully funny Thomas Lennon), a super-geek (Star Wars, LOTR and other sci-fi fantasy paraphernalia decorate his house) turned super rich computer geek (he invented both the software to pirate music and the software to prevent piracy). Anyway, Perry thinks high school was the best time every and if he could return, he'd do everything differently. Enter, the "spirit guide" who makes him 17 again. He helps his son gain self-esteem and popularity and his daughter to be less skanky and more sure of herself and realizes he was a bad husband, but really loves his wife. It's a very funny movie, and I was pleasantly suprised to find out Zac Efron is a really good actor (I'm not quite the demographic for the High School Musicals so this was only the first time I'd seen him since his small role in Hairspray). Efron is in nearly every scene and actually does a very convincing job of being Matthew Perry as a 17-year-old, with sarcasm and speechifying to make fun of the school bully. Also, the relationship between Ned and the school principal is hysterical. Fun movie, 3.5 stars/lambs, though if you're a teenage girl, it's probably the best movie you've ever seen.

PS - A great guy I went to college with, Tommy Dewey, has a small role as Matthew Perry's boss. He's hysterical as the young VP promoting someone else over Perry. Here's hoping he keeps getting funny roles.

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