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17 AGAIN, 2009
Movie Review

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17 AGAIN
17 AGAIN
Movie Review

Directed by Burr Steers
Starring: Zac Efron, Matthew Perry
Review by Matthew Toffolo



SYNOPSIS:

[Direct quote from promotional material]: “An adult man suddenly becomes a 17-year-old high school student again.” Was this written by someone who failed high school English? An adult man – really? And what, no effort for a little flair; for a couple pronouns, at least? WHAT-EVER!! :-Z

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REVIEW:

Now this was an interesting film!

For the second weekend in a row (Hannah Montana the first) I found myself in a packed audience full of tweener girls who were screaming even before the film started. There were also a lot of tweener guys there too, who I talked to beforehand and all refused to admit that they liked Zac Efron. But it was a secret crush I sensed. Why else would they be at a opening screening of 17 Again? They kind of wanted to be Zacy Boy but would never admit it to there friends. Kind of like how I hate Derek Jeter but wouldn't mind trading places with him for a day or two. We sometimes love what we hate or hate what we love.

So 17 Again has its buitd in audience. If there's one thing I learned in the last two years, it's that if you have a film that is made for girls between the ages of 8-15, they will travel to the cinema in droves. They are almost the new #1 core audience group and are almost ready to take down the 18-24 males!

And Zac Efron seems to have that Julia Roberts like persona where one half of the population loves her (the men) and the other half (the woman) hates her but secretly wouldn't mind being her. Put it all together and you have yourself a box office hit. Let's hope Efron's people put a back-end clause on his contract because the money will be coming in this weekend and he deserves a lot of the credit.

The irony of this film too is that this is a movie about a man going through a mid-life crisis. He thinks high school was his peak and craves for that time again. And in the movie world that can happen, hence the title 17 Again.

So Chandler Bing becomes a teenager again and turns into the guy from High School Musical who is still playing basketball (which there is no possible way the real Zac Efron could ever start on a high school basketball team), dancing a little bit and making the girls scream so loud, it was like I was in Chicago and the Cubs won the World Series. They really like this guy. Last week I saw people taking pictures during Hannah Montana throughout the entire film and I thought I never would see that again. But they were even worse in 17 Again, especially when Efron had his shirt off or was in a close up shot. So basically throughout the entire film pictures were being snapped in between their screams.

And the entire emotional beats of this film are from the perspective of an older man with regrets. But it's a film geared for young girls who have no idea what this world is. And I can't see 35-45 year old men attending this film. So am I missing something here?

I do have to give Efron credit. The boy is a pretty decent actor. He has that Kirk Cameron boyish charm but with the acting ability and snarky wit of Michael J. Fox. I almost thought he was going to turn into a Werewolf during the basketball scenes (a joke you'll only get if you are over 30).

This film really did remind my of Back to the Future. Perhaps because they stole a lot of scenarios from Back to the Future. Same situations with a new 21st century twist. At least they stole from a classic. What did Picasso say? Good artists create. Great artists steal.

I talked to a lot of the tweeners after the film and they had mixed feelings about 17 Again. It was obvious they didn't get a lot of the themes of the film because they are after all only about 13 years old and the main character is almost 40. But at least Zac Efron looked cute.

17 Again did send the young generation a strange message too. Love concurs all and forget about your dreams and life passions. I am a romantic at heart but I'm not sure kids should be influenced with an ending like they witnessed in 17 Again. I am a believer of the concept of following your passion first, be happy next, then find the love of your life.

I have a great idea for the sequel though. It's called OH MY GOD I'M ACTUALLY 40. Played by Efron of course who turns from 18 to 40 and has to deal with being old. The kids would eat it up.


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17 Again


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