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17 Again

  • 2009-04-30
  • By Monika Hanley

THE MAGIC JANITOR: Perry turns into a teenager again after making a wish to a member of the cleaning staff.

Director: Burr Steers

First of all, the movie was wholly unfunny. The trailers look great 's Zac Efron with his shirt off, running around playing basketball and so on. In reality Zac Efron is actually 48-year-old Matthew Perry (of Friends fame), an unhappy soon-to-be divorcee wishing he could go back in time and redo life.

The opening scene centers on a championship basketball game in 1989 where Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) is ready to impress the talent scouts and go to college, when he notices his girlfriend looking upset. He goes over to talk to her and she tells him she's pregnant. This changes his whole life and he forgoes the game and proposes to his lady.

Flash forward to today and the two are unhappy with two children. Going back to his old high school, adult Mike (Matthew Perry) absentmindedly wishes himself 17 again to a passing janitor. Later, the same janitor is seen jumping off a bridge, and Mike jumps to save him.

But, reminiscent of "It's a Wonderful Life" the jump activates some vortex and Mike wakes up young. But he's still in modern times, which doesn't make that much sense. However, it gives him the chance to befriend his kids and see what his wife is really feeling.
He also realizes that he hasn't turned 17 again for his own benefit, but to help his kids make the most of themselves and live up to their potential.

It's hard to say what the overall message of the film is. The movie, unlike so many other adult-teen switch movies, doesn't really have the classic "my life was actually pretty good as an adult" theme to it. And there are no "oh wow this world sucks without me" bits.
There's not even the added "I'm a 30-year-old stuck in a teen body and it produces funny results" comedy aspect. He seems to adjust way too quickly, thanks to his friend's money and collection of expensive cars.

The target audience is again difficult to pinpoint.
Despite being billed as a comedy, the funniest line was said by a health teacher, who appears in 2 minutes of the film: "Asking a high school senior to stay abstinent is like asking a porcupine to poop goat cheese."

The ending might bring a few tears 's but they are tears of happiness that everything is alright. At least everything ends as it should and it is possible to leave the theater with a good feeling.


Opens  May 8 in Latvia, May 1 in Lithuania, now showing in Estonia  


 

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