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May 11, 2009 | by  | in Film |
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17 Again

In the style of Tom Hanks’ Big, this film tells a tale of 30-something Mike O’Donnell (Perry), who discovers his life turned out the complete opposite of what he had planned. Going through a divorce with a woman he still loves, his children won’t talk to him and denied a promotion—his life is turning into a downward spiral. Until one day, he magically becomes sucked into a whirlpool of contemplation and wakes up as himself at 17 (Efron), with gloriously entertaining and, I’ll admit, emotional consequences.

It’s your run-of-the-mill comedy about second chances, with a 13 Going On 30-esque feel of ‘waking up at another age’ and realising some things along the way. Some could complain that this kind of storyline has been on repeat for the last decade (with Freaky Friday, Big, etc) but when you have Zac Efron on the scene it’s never a bad thing. He’s hilarious as Mike stuck in his 17-year-old (hot…) body—sometimes I even forget he’s not playing himself. Zac is one actor I look forward to seeing more of in the future. Unlike Perry or Radcliffe, he can extract himself from his High School Musical days quite easily. On second thought… there’s a suspicious dancing scene at the beginning of the movie when he joins in with the cheerleaders and breaks it down. You go, Troy.

However, (here comes the inevitable negative point), seeing Matthew Perry as anything other than the crazy sarcastic Chandler is like seeing Daniel Radcliffe without the Harry Potter glasses. It just doesn’t fit. I spent the majority of the movie waiting for a casual Chandler joke, but, was left waiting until the last minute—the end of the credits. It was quite unusual to find that the younger Mike was funnier than the adult Mike. But the rest of the film makes up for this; having Jan from The Office thrown into the mix is a laugh, especially seeing her speaking Elf with Mike’s nerdy friend Ned. Geekiness is the new black, I’ve recently discovered. There are always those cringeworthy Star Trek/Wars quotes and uncanny amounts of knowledge and comic books chucked into movies and TV shows these days which people lap up, and eventually are seen to be hilarious and ‘cool’.

Don’t deny this film; dismiss all the teeny-boppers filling up the cinema and ogling over Zac. It’s pretty predictable, but a barrel o’ laughs along the way. Ned makes me laugh to the days with his quotes—“Our hands just made a baby,”—and Mike’s relationship with his wife during the change in age is adorable—he’s 17 and she’s like 40, yet they still look cute together then. I got to admit, maybe a small tear squeezed out of my eye at the end. Just maybe.

Directed by Burr Steers, Written by Jason Filardi
With Zac Efron, Matthew Perry, Leslie Mann, Michelle Trachenberg

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