Movie Review: 17 Again
Release Date: April 17, 2009
Running Time: 102 minutes
Child-friendly?With its PG-13 rating and its high school setting, this movie is more geared toward preteens and younger teenagers. Children under 12 may be attracted to the movie with the inclusion of High School Musical star Zac Efron, though parents should know this is strictly a movie about high school and the struggles/comedy that come along with it. The film is probably appropriate for ages 13 and up.
While the plot of a grown man getting the chance to relive his teenage years is a familiar plot (see Big, Vice Versa, 18 again), there may be enough acting chops and comedic moments to make 17 Again feel fresh for some audience members.
However, those two things will pale when the litter of teenage girls, and there will be a multitude of them, start squealing the moment High School Musical star Zac Efron flashes his engaging smile on the screen.
The movie opens with 37-year-old Mike McDonnell (Matthew Perry) on the cusp of a divorce he doesn’t want and kids who refuse to recognize his existence. After meeting a "mystical janitor" (why do people with magical powers always seem to have strange jobs?), McDonnell is sucked into a strange wormhole that turns back the clock so he can inhibit his 17-year-old body again, which looks like Efron. Only it’s still 2009 and now he’s the same age as his kids.
Initially the plan is a life do-over for McDonnell and for people who have seen similar movies, the generational jokes may seem familiar. However as the film progresses, it shows some heart with McDonnell attempting to help his kids (his son is the target of bullies, his daughter dates a jerk), along with his wife who he married in high school.
While there is a family dynamic in the film, because of its high school setting and some mild sexual situations (a date, high school crushes), the film is more appropriate for preteens and teenagers rather than younger children.