Filed under: News, Reviews, Contests | Tags: 13 Going on Thirty, 17 Again, Big, Carrie Rollwagen, cougar, Edward, Hunter Parish, Leslie Mann, Matthew Perry, MILF, Some New Trend, Twilight, Zac Efron
MOVIE REVIEW :: by Carrie Rollwagen
“A vampire wouldn’t tell. A cyborg wouldn’t know.”
Seventeen Again has a plot like Big or Thirteen Going On Thirty, but reversed: Mike is a forty-ish man who is dissatisfied with his life, takes his wife for granted, and barely knows his teenage kids. He wishes he could go back to high school and make different choices, and he’s given that chance by a spirit guide who puts his adult self (Matthew Perry) back into his high school body (Zac Efron). It’s a lot like Freaky Friday, except Mike becomes a classmate and friend to his kids instead of switching bodies with them.
Time travel as a self-help technique isn’t this much of a theme in books. The Time Traveler’s Wife plays with time travel (obviously), but its characters are looking for freedom from change, not searching for the freedom to change. Tuck Everlasting and even Twilight (along with countless others) have old souls inhabiting young bodies. Time travel, yes. Time travel for personal growth, not so much.
Seventeen Again is saved from being too cheesy or creepy by laughing at itself and acknowledging the implausibility of its plot. Right away, it turns Efron’s famous High School Musical role on its head — he starts the movie as a dancing high school basketball star (naturally), but within the first five minutes he’s gotten his girlfriend pregnant. We’re not in Disney anymore.
Early on, Mike and his comic-book-reading, Vader-mask-collecting best friend explore the triteness of the time warp phenomenon. “Are you, or have you ever been, a Norse god, a vampire, or a time traveling cyborg?” his friend asks, trying to make sense of this supernatural shift out of a pile of science fiction books.
Even young Mike’s romance with his adult wife (Leslie Mann), easily the most touching part of the movie, is kind of weird, but she acknowledges the awkwardness with jokes about cougars and MILFs.
Sure, this plot line is a little played out, and the lessons are obvious and trite. Efron’s speeches are too over the top, and you’re not missing anything if you wait for the video. On the other hand, there are some genuinely moments, from a Trekkie fairy godmother to jokes bashing Bluetooths and T.G.I. Fridays. Plus, foosball is used as a weapon. And Hunter Parish is really hot.
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