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17 Again

Glory Days

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

As a mid-20s guy who loves a good Ingmar Bergman or Orson Welles, I have to admit that I kind of enjoyed 17 Again. It's not necessarily a good movie, but it has enough amusing moments to hold one's attention most of the time. Granted many of those moments came from Thomas Lennon (Reno 911), who played the quintessential nerdy, comic relief friend, but despite being cookie cutter the film is better than most in the same genre.

Aside from the star, Zac Efron, the cast is actually pretty impressive -- Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, Mrs. Judd Apatow), Thomas Lennon (The State), Melora Hardin (The Office) and Matthew Perry (c’mon it’s Chandler!). Perhaps the reason for such talent is director Burr Stevens who helmed indie, cult favorite Igby Goes Down. I’m still not sure whether I should respect him or shake my head at his career, but he did quite well with a Zac Efron movie. And to be fair, Efron isn’t even a bad actor, he just has to shake his current image. Doing this film, with such esteemed talent, is probably the first step in doing that.

So for those wanting to know what 17 Again is actually about, well the title is pretty self-explanatory. Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry and Zac Efron) was the star of his high school basketball team, with a scholarship most likely on the way, and dated the most beautiful girl in school, Scarlett (Leslie Mann). That was until Scarlett told him she was pregnant during the biggest game of his life and he decided to drop everything for her.

Now, nearly 30 years later, he hasn’t let her forget his decision and he’s stuck in a dead end job and in the middle of a divorce. Somehow (it seriously doesn’t explain) he becomes 17 again, yet he’s still in the present. Figuring there’s a reason, he decides to help out his kids Alex (Sterling Knight) and Maggie (Michelle Trachtenberg) as well as try to win his wife (I know he’s 17, but where do you think the awkward humor comes from?) in hopes of bringing the family together again.

For such an unoriginal plot (Big in reverse?), it’s actually played out well. Of course, O’Donnell is the guy who relishes his high school days, yet his best friend Ned (Thomas Lennon), who was the kind of guy who dressed up as Harry Potter on a daily basis but is now incredibly wealthy, despises his “glory” days. Yet, the two work together to help Mike get his life back in order, despite being 17.