Monday, April 27, 2009

It's freaking ME out!

Okay, I'll admit that I'm a 21-year-old woman with a slight crush on Zac Efron. It didn't help that he's ridiculously funny in 17 Again. And while I've never watched any of the High School Musicals (except for part of the first before my little cousin fell asleep), there's no denying that Efron's a talented actor.

It was with surprisingly little struggle that I got my boyfriend to go see 17 Again; but it was even more surprising afterwards when he told me that he had liked the movie.

Admittedly, the plot line is a little corny: Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry, Friends) is unhappy with his life at age 37 and after a strange encounter with a creepy janitor, he finds that he is 17 again (the title of the movie!).

Now, Mike has a lot of problems to fix with his life, and it probably didn't help him that he's in his 17-year-old body while going through a divorce from his high school sweetheart. And not just any high school sweetheart, but the one for whom he left the most important basketball game of his life to chase after.

Figuring out, thanks to his nerdy best friend Ned (Thomas Lennon, I Love You, Man), that this transformation is supposed to help him figure out his path in life, Mike realizes that he has to fix things with his wife, Scarlett (Leslie Mann, Knocked Up) and get closer to his kids.

Efron plays young Mike as almost a young Chandler Bing (that's Perry's character from Friends if you didn't know). The awkward laughs and actions show that Efron probably studied up on Perry. So even though it's a bit of a stretch to imagine that Perry looked like Efron in high school, it's made considerably easier when Efron captures Perry's actions so well. And there is an undeniable chemistry between Mann and Efron as he tries to subtly woo his wife.

Amidst the high school antics comes a scene stealer of a couple: Lennon and Melora Hardin (The Office) as Principal Jane Masterson. As Mike's closest and oldest friend, Ned is the only one who knows the truth about Mike's transformation. Acting as his father, Ned meets Jane and makes a fool out of himself trying to get her to go on a date with him. As principal of the school, Jane will have nothing to do with it, until they realize their undying love of Lord of the Rings. Some of the funniest scenes in the movie come from Ned "peacocking" and the two of them speaking Elvish.

However, this comedy has it's eye-roll inducing moments. Since Mike got Scarlett pregnant while the two were still in high school, there is the obligatory scene where teenage Mike makes a long speech in health class about staying abstinent and all the girls swoon.

Even though most people will want to write off 17 Again as a comedy geared toward the tween group, it's really a lot of fun for everyone. In fact, there were many scenes that had my boyfriend and I laughing, but some of the teenagers didn't quite get the humor.

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