Wednesday, August 5, 2009

17 Again DVD



DVD Review by Kam Williams


Headline:  Man Becomes Teen Again in Time-Travel Adventure Arriving on DVD


                Hollywood loves nothing more than time-machine comedies. From the title of this variation on the theme alone, you have a decent idea of what to expect from 17 Again, a silly sitcom about a miserable, middle-aged man who gets a new lease on life when he is miraculously turned back into a teenager after accidentally falling into a river.

                The lead role of Mike O’Donnell is split between Matthew Perry (as adult) and Zac Efron (as teen), a couple of actors who don’t really look like each other. This bit of casting might which be by design, because the plot depends on almost no one recognizing Mike after his transformational dunk in the proverbial Fountain of Youth.

At the point of departure our hero is a senior at Hayden High School where he’s a basketball star. But he quits the team after his girlfriend informs him that she’s pregnant. Mike does the right thing and marries Scarlet (Leslie Mann) with whom he subsequently has two children. However, this turn of events also means he never went to college or had much of a career to speak of.

Fast-forward to the present when his wife kicks him out of the house, and he has to move in with his childhood friend, Ned (Thomas Lennon), the class nerd who has made millions over the intervening years. The plot thickens once Mike morphs into a 17 year-old, since he has to attend Hayden High, his kids’ (Sterling Knight and Michelle Trachtenberg) school.

The second time around at Hayden High he has a chance to avoid the pregnancy pitfalls he encountered there before. This proves easy since the only girl who makes a pass at him has no idea that the cute new kid is her own father. Other than the borderline-incestuous, father-daughter sexual tension, there’s nothing particularly memorable about this cliché-ridden sitcom.

The best that can be said is that it’s well-acted by a game cast which does its best to sell a script riddled with implausible twists and turns. How many different ways can idea-bereft Tinseltown remake the same movie? It’s déjà vu all over again.


Good (2 stars)

Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and teen partying. 

Running time: 102 minutes

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD Extras: None

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