’17 Again’ " Familiar story with a different twist
April 16, 2009
I’m usually leery about another movie that has someone going back to a time where they wish they knew then what they know now.
Tom Hanks did it best in “Big” (1988) and Jennifer Garner’s take was touching in “13 Going on 30” (2003). Then there were those plethora of movies that had the parents switching places with their kids like “Vice Versa” (1988), “Freaky Friday”(2003) or a grandfather/grandson switch such as “18 Again” (1988). Now it’s Zac Efron’s turn in (yep, you guessed it) “17 Again.”
But he doesn’t get to physically return to his high school years (which would have been far more interesting). Rather he is in the present context going to school where his kids are instead. So, it’s really not a surprise that he is clueless when confronted how his children really behave but not so terrible that there are a few eye-opening moments.
In his adult world, Mike O’Connell is played by Matthew Perry, who was the big man on campus when he was in high school. He’s a star basketball player with a college scholarship and all waiting for him and a future that looked as promising as his game.
He marries his high school sweetheart. Need I say more what happens? It’s always easier when you start playing Monday morning quarterback about what shouda, coulda, woulda. Toss in a little George Bailey from “It’s A Wonderful Life” (yes, there is a guardian angel) and a dead-end job and, well, you get the picture.
Mike will understand that he hasn’t been a role model of a husband to his wife, Scarlet (Leslie Mann), or much of a dad to his kids. But when he sees how much he glamorized his high school years (like we all tend to do sometimes don’t we?) he realizes that what he doesn’t have it so bad after all. Best friend Ned (Thomas Lennon) gets to play the father of the younger Mike (Efron), which is pretty funny especially when he isn’t convinced at first that his best bud is 20 years younger than he is.