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17 Again
Genre Comedy
Year: 2009
 
Review:

17 Again is just like those fantasy age concept movies from the late ’80s: Big, 18 Again! and Like Father, Like Son. In fact, it’s like a combination between 18 Again! with George Burns/Charlie Schlatter and Like Father, Like Son with Dudley Moore/Kirk Cameron. This time it’s a Matthew Perry/Zac Efron pairing that put the age reversal on for size. The concept may be about 20 years late, but like 13 Going On 30, its just the kind of light entertainment that people crave in times like these. Efron is the star of the show and gives a full-bodied charisma to his character. His older self, Matthew Perry, has much less screen time than Efron, but makes a decent effort to represent a jaded everyman. The film is fun, light-hearted and uplifting, which is key to everyone’s enjoyment. It’s similar to Paul Blart: Mall Cop in this way, and is encouraging for other light comic fluff films in pre-production. 17 Again is familiar for parents and fresh enough for young High School Muscial graduates.

This is an important role for Efron as he catapults his star in a slightly different direction. 17 Again isn’t as clean as the Disney Channel and carries an age restriction for some contemporary issues relating to “MILFs”, older woman/younger man relationships and the pitfalls of being your daughter’s age. There’s plenty of grey area when it comes to these fantasies and the “age is just a number” thinking. However, it’s all done in a comic and light-hearted way to avoid any toe-bruising. 17 Again also stars Leslie Mann (Knocked Up), Michelle Trachtenberg (The Ice Princess) and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911). He starts off as an irritant, but gets funnier and funnier as his outlandish Elvish and Star Wars customs come to the fore. He almost steals the show, but Efron’s good looks and charm shine through in the end.

There a several genuine laugh-out-loud moments in 17 Again, and it keeps a pretty upbeat tempo. The film is familiar, predictable and that’s enough to make it a forgettable, yet entertaining 100 minutes. One does encounter that “seen-it-all-before” feeling, especially if you’re from an older generation. However, the concept is refreshed with new faces, 2000s trends and some good comedy. If you enjoyed fantasy comedies from the late ’80s and have an appreciation for light entertainment, then 17 Again is a movie that will appeal to you. It is what it is and that’s good enough.

The bottom line: Enjoyable.

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