By Jack Rico
Rated: PG-13 for language, some sexual material and teen partying.
Release Date: 2009-04-17
Starring: Jason Filardi
Official Website: www.17againmovie.com
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I wanted to like ‘17 Again’ for its nostalgic teen flare, but the script and dialogue were so inept and appalling, not much can be extolled from it. So many things went awry that scrutinizing the film at lengths would be a time-wasting process. The ensemble did an okay job, enough to collectively salvage some dignity from the movie. Nevertheless, whatever I say is insignificant since the main ticket buyers for this teen film will ignore my every word. They will swoon over Zac Efron for a few weeks, then on DVD a few months later until eternity.
The storyline is somewhat intriguing – what would you do if you got a second shot at life, as your former 17 year old alter-ego? Many questions would arise, but for argument’s sake, we’ll follow the film’s plot… 39 year old Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry), a has-been high school basketball star, is dealt a miserable hand at being a credible dad. But Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17 (Zac Efron) to recapture his best years, and bring his family together.
The premise may catch an ear or two, but it is the execution of the story which is unfathomable. Director Burr Steers doesn’t have a clue of what story development is. Perhaps 17 Again’s biggest travesty, is its inability to fabricate a better story to explain how an adult transforms into a teenager. In the movie, a janitor with magical powers just happens to show up and morph him. Moreover, his former teachers, friends and wife, who should recognize Perry as a young Efron, are fully oblivious to this miracle. No explanation, no reason, no care. One tends to understand that plausibility in thee types of films are inconsequential, but for it to be this blatant is just negligent and wreckless.
In spite of these glaring issues, parents and other adults could succumb to the nostalgia of the films storyline. Noteworthy is Zac Efron, who is a likable actor that masks a lot of the movie’s deficiencies. His looks also camouflage his limited range as an actor. Hopefully, he will develop into a better thespian with time and work. Overall, kids and Zac zealots will enjoy and indulge in this zany 80’s feel teen flick.