17 Again - spliferooney
In no way imaginable is this movie original. This movie copies many of it's themes from far superior movies like, "Back To the Future", "13 Going on 30", and "Freaky Friday". The "body-swap" concept has been done and overdone far too many times, to the point where every idea is feeling contrived. And yet with all that in mind, this is a very enjoyable and utterly poignant flick.
What really separates and distinguishes this film from other body-swap flicks, is the terrific cast. Although it has a very talented and experienced supporting cast, the film is carried EFFORTLESSLY by Zac Efron. Not only is he charming and talented, with bronze good looks, but he also has a knack for comic timing. Sure, he has a long way to go to become a great actor, but he surely is getting a start on a good career. He nails the comedy, but does surprisingly well with the emotional climatic turning point of the story as well, which even put a tear in my eye. Aside from a truly impressive post-HSM performance, he has to be one of the best looking leads I think I have ever seen. Everyone plays in second-rate to Efron, however, there are some good supporting performances, mostly coming from Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, and Sterling Knight.
Although little is inventive, the film still has some fresh new jokes to add to the "body-swap" genre. For instance, a nerdy Starwars geek tries to nab the attention of the pretty school principle, while enrolling the younger-version of Mike into school, as his son. He goes through some pretty wacky encounters in order to get her attention. Although the wacky sci-fi romance they develop later on is amusing, the real fun is played all through Efron, who runs into many awkward encounters with his kids as a teenager. Many of the highest points of the film prove to be the awkward, cringe-inducing, almost incestous scenes, where Mike's daughter begins to develop a crush on him, and expresses her affection in the most awkward of places, the bedroom. Or when Scarlett (Mike's wife) begins to develop a crush on the high school version of her husband.
Overall, although no new territory is covered here, 17 Again proves to be far better than one would expect. Although predictable, you may find yourself shedding a tear by it's end, like me, and feeling swept off your feet for a mere second. It has a youthful, spunky outlook on "body-swap" movies, and features a young, top-notch cast, which is why this works.
It's often funny, charming, and nonstalgic.
Review published on the 28 October 2009 13:19
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