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Tuesday
Apr142009

17 Again

All of us have moments we wish we could relive. Maybe a particular time in our lives was special and we just want to experience it again. Maybe we wish we would have done things differently. Even being the young 22 year old that I am, one moment in my life stands above the rest in my regret of how I handled things and I'd do anything to go back and make it right. But alas, time keeps ticking and the past is the past. But has that ever stopped Hollywood? No way. Hollywood bitch slaps time with an "Oh no he di-in't" and gives us 17 Again, a film in the same vein of flicks like 13 Going on 30 and Big.

Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) is the man. He's a star athlete on his way to grabbing a college basketball scholarship and he's dating the prettiest girl in school. Just before the big game where scouters will be looking for top talent, his girlfriend tells him that she is pregnant. Because of this, he makes the choice to abandon basketball, skip college and find a job to take care of her and the child. Flash forward twenty years later and the older Mike (Matthew Perry) is about to be divorced and his children hate him. After a confrontation with a janitor while reminiscing on his old high school basketball court, he finds himself to be 17 again (natch) and he uses the opportunity to make things right with his family.

17 Again is like watching your parents play sports. It's admirable in its attempt, but awkward and sloppy in its execution. At times, the film is comedically brilliant, providing some big laughs, but other times it's embarrassingly bad, having the characters resort to macho teenage tactics that create a large separation from the rest of the film. In one scene, young Mike bashes a bully to defend his son while showing off his mad skillz (with a "z" brutha) with a basketball. He spins it on his fingers, throws it between his legs and pretty much tries to act cool. But it's not cool. It's ridiculous. Standing up for your son is a good thing and could have been powerful, even moving, but the scene's wild antics became a distraction from the meaning of his words.

17 Again has moments of greatness, but then again, it also has moments of perplexity, like when Mike's daughter falls in love with his young self, even going so far as to show her rub her nose playfully with his. The movie tried to play it for laughs, but it worked more like an actual father/daughter relationship would. It was gratuitous and unsettling.

Still, at least the film knows who it's playing for. Before the title screen even pops up, Efron is already sweaty and shirtless. Eat it up ladies. But biceps do not a good performance make. Luckily, Efron is charismatic, charming, good looking, nay, gorgeous and he does a great job in the role, juggling the responsibilities of a father while trying to act like a 17 year old. He also has terrific comedic timing and I found myself laughing pretty frequently despite some questionable script decisions.

17 Again is a 50/50 deal. There are moments that are sure to entertain, but it's hard to get past the sometimes slippery script and the "been there done that" feeling. I've seen this story about thirty times before and there isn't anything in this movie that sets it apart from anything else. It features some good performances, a handful of decent laughs, a whimsical story and Zac Efron wet and shirtless. While all of those are good, there isn't enough here that makes 17 Again stand out. It's not bad. It's just not worth it.

17 Again receives 2.5/5

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    Josh Hylton's Movie Reviews - Reviews - 17 Again

Reader Comments (1)

he finds himself to be 17 again (natch) and he uses the opportunity to make things right with his family.

May 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenniffer

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