17 Again

Go Back Rewind the Clock


17 April 2009| No Comments on 17 Again     by Sean Chavel


17 Again can be summed up easily: it’s pervasively stupid. Now for those few readers out there who are uncertain as to what I mean, I will go into further obligatory explanation. The characters behave in ways that can be characterized as stupid.  The characters adamantly act without thinking. The characters react slow when introduced to new surroundings. The characters say things that are stupid as if the screenwriter would consider it to be too challenged to make the characters say something smart. The characters constantly seem like they could use some earnest assistance by writing magic marker messages on their arms to remember what they said a minute or two ago. Pervasive because there seems to be an unwillingness to demonstrate anything that could be decisively fresh or smart.

Via low-rent Hollywood’s worst special effects, 37-year old Mike O’Donnell transforms back into his 17-year old body in the mold of Zac Efron. O’Donnell wakes up to an immediate hostile situation in his young body. The scene with longtime friend Ned (Thomas Lennon) beating up Efron around his own house is noisy, aggravating and pitiful – you mean he doesn’t see the resemblance to the Mike O’Donnell he knew while he was young? Efron hangs around his own son, his own daughter, his own ex-wife. What? Nobody in the family ever saw a picture of the young Mike O’Donnell and recognized that that’s what young Dad looked like?

Especially ex-wife Scarlet (Leslie Mann) who must have attention-deficit disorder, early stage dementia or perhaps had a memory transplant in the interim years from high school where she met O’Donnell and her adult years which would explain why she can’t see that it’s indeed the very same O’Donnell she’s spent half her life with. To confuse people, of course, O’Donnell uses the lame excuse that he’s Ned’s kid. This is after, of course, Ned accepts Mike for who he says he is and agrees to become a surrogate guardian.

The plot theoretically exists so (you must have seen this coming) O’Donnell can have that second chance to make everything right again with his ex-wife and distancing kids. Pseudo-comedy ensues with such scenes of high school girls throwing themselves on Efron, getting fumed in the passing out of condoms, and nerds getting their faces dunked in toilets.

Efron, who is like a tanning bed version of a young Tom Cruise, doesn’t have much muscle going, so it’s unlikely that we will be seeing him in some kind of Top Gun macho vehicle anytime soon. So far in his young career, Efron has proven he is the human equivalent of bubblegum. Lacquered and artificial.

102 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “Freaky Friday” (1976); “Like Father Like Son” (1987); “18 Again” (1988); “Big” (1988).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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