17 Again (12)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner08/04/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Enjoyable, frequently funny body swap comedy with likeable characters, a decent script and a superb central performance from Zac Efron.

What's it all about?
Directed by Burr Steers, 17 Again opens in 1989 with 17-year-old Mike (Zac Efron) choosing to marry his pregnant girlfriend Scarlet instead of following a promising high school basketball career. Flash forward to the present and Mike (now played by Matthew Perry) finds his life falling apart: Scarlet (Leslie Mann) has initiated divorce proceedings, his teenage kids (Michelle Trachtenberg as Maggie and Sterling Knight as Alex) don't seem to like him very much, he's lost his job and he's reduced to crashing with his high school nerd turned techno billionaire best friend Ned (Thomas Lennon).

However, when Mike wishes that he could be a teenager again he falls into a magical whirlpool (don't ask) and is transformed into the 17-year-old version of himself (Efron again). Enrolling in high school, Mike quickly figures out that he's supposed to help his kids in some way, but complications ensue when he discovers that Alex is picked on at school and Maggie is dating the class bully (Hunter Parrish). And to make matters worse, Mike somehow has to stop Scarlet from moving on with her life, even though she's now old enough to be his mother.

The Good
Efron is an extremely likeable lead (High School Musical fans should note there's some dancing but no singing) and proves a surprisingly good dramatic actor to boot. In particular, he completely nails the film's emotional climax and he also has convincing chemistry with Mann.

The Great
In addition, Steers has assembled a great comic cast and ensures that each character gets the chance to shine. Highlights include Ned's sub-plot romance with foxy Principal Masterson (Melora Hardin), Alex's disastrous chat-up attempts and Mike fending off his daughter's unexpectedly aggressive advances when she develops a crush on him.

Worth seeing?
As body swap movies go, 17 Again is no Freaky Friday, but it's still a lot of fun, thanks to likeable performances and an engaging script. Recommended.

Film Trailer

17 Again (12)
17 Again has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 19/10/2017 20:52

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Foxcatcher (15)

Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum star in this real life inspired story of Olympic talent, fierce competition and murder.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films