17 Again

Does anyone remember "Damn Yankees?" In that one, middle-aged insurance salesman Joe Hardy makes a deal with the Devil so he can be transformed into a pennant-winning baseball player. In "17 Again" middle-aged pharmaceutical salesman Mike O'Donnell wishes for a "do-over" with a janitor/Spirit Guide at his old high school. This adult version, played by Matthew Perry ("Friends" and "The Whole Nine Yards"), is separated from his wife, has been passed over for a pro- motion, and has just realized that neither of his teenage children think very highly of him.

Instead of 1958 teen idol Tab Hunter in the old movie, our do-over this time gives us 2009 teen idol Zac Efron ("Hairspray" and "High School Musical"). In both movies, the younger version continues to love his wife, but in the current one, our transformed hero enrolls at his children's high school and comes to realize that he didn't know his offspring at all! In my opinion, Zac Efron does a commendable job of playing an unapologetic adult, with adult attitudes and adult sensibilities, lodged in a teenager's body. He is the one who has to deliver all the common sense advice for teenagers and do it in a believable way. This guy might be able to make the transition to "real" movie star, after all...

This piece of fluff is predictable, silly, and highly fantastical, but I heard the audience laugh out loud numerous times. There were tweens in the crowd but I never felt uncomfortable for them, and in today's anything- goes environment, that is worthy of comment.

I enjoyed it.