What would you do if you could go back in time to get a second shot at life? Okay, itâ€™s a theme that been used in many films, like â€œ,â€Â “ ” and even â€œ .â€ We’ve all thought about going back in time to make different choices, haven’t we?Â (Personally, thereâ€™s that hideous perm I got in 1988, but thatâ€™s just me.)
This time around the story is about Mike (Matthew Perry,) whose glory days are decidedly behind him. His marriage to Scarlet (Leslie Mann) has fallen apart, he has been passed over for a promotion at work, his teenage kids think he is a loser, and he has been reduced to crashing with his high school nerd-turned-techno-billionaire best friend Ned (Thomas Lennon, â€œReno 911â€.)
Flashing back to 1989, we learn that Mike (Zac Efron) was a star on the high school basketball court with a college scout in the stands and a bright future in his grasp. But instead, he decided to throw it all away to share his life with his girlfriend Scarlet and the baby he just learned they are expecting.Â Thanks to movie magic, Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17.Â And though Mike looks like a hunky 17-year old Zac Efron, his thirtysomething outlook is totally uncool among the class of 2009.
Director Burr Steers has assembled a fine ensemble, from Matthew Perry (who could have used a bit more screentime,) Leslie Mann as Mikeâ€™s beleaguered soon-be-ex, Thomas Lennon as Ned, and as the object of Nedâ€™s obsessive affection, the wonderful Melora Harden (â€œThe Office.â€) But the real revelation is Efron as the young Mike. Efron has gained tween-throb status through his roles in â€œâ€ and â€œ ,â€ but his role in â€œ â€ proves the kid is the real deal, and has the chops to mature into bigger and better roles.
â€œ17 Againâ€ is a refreshing and sweet alternative to the spate of raunchy, testosterone-laden guy-films that have hit the big screens for the past couple of years.Â The only challenge will be in attracting the right audience. Tweens and teens will come to see Zac Efron, but the story will resonate best with grown-ups.Â (Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min. MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, some sexual material and teen partying.)
Big Fat Rating: â˜…â˜…â˜… 1/2