On the brink of a midlife crisis, 30-something Mike O'Donnell wishes he could have a "do-over." And that's exactly what he gets when he wakes up one morning to find he's 17 years old again. With his adult mind stuck inside the body of a teenager, Mike actually has the chance to reverse some decisions he wishes he'd never made. But maybe they weren't so bad after all.
It's a classic transformation story. Are you now or have you ever been a Norse God, Vampire, or Time Traveling Cyborg? Another in what is a long line of body swap comedies, 17 Again is fun, frothy and full of warmth; just like all the other ones really! There's nothing new here, it's the same old format as a grown up Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) rues how his life has grown to miserable proportions but magically gets to be a high-schooler again and grasp that second chance. Back in his 17 year old bod (Zac Efron looking like a young Rob Lowe), Mike oversees the trials and tribulations of his two kids who attend the same school, whilst also forming a "special" bond with his future wife Scarlet (Leslie Mann) who is going to divorce him! Cue much high-school pranks, perils and near misses and a few worthy messages in the narrative. Tailored towards a certain demographic with the casting of Efron, who is very likable and a worthy lead here, the film thankfully doesn't lack for good performances elsewhere. Both Mann and Melora Hardin as the hot principal make their roles stand out, while Thomas Lennon as Mike's uber rich man child buddy steals the movie. It's rich in clichés of the formula and the predictability of outcome robs us of a surprise, but these are not actually irritants, for this is a very enjoyable movie. One where the teens hot for Zac can stare lovingly, and one where the adults can nod in knowing agreement at some plot dynamics. 7/10