God i hate my girlfriend sometimes. If she isn't being a perfectly pleasant and wonderful human being (as she is most of the time i might add!) she's making me watch some terrible film that's a crime against cinema... like Twilight. Yeah, i went there! Shiny vampires my ass!
Anyway back to the topic on point, this weekend i was dragged off to see 17 Again, released in the UK on the 10th of April and due to open in America on Friday. ( A discussion for another time , but we get the Dark Knight a week behind you but we get the latest Zac Efron puff piece a week early. BULLSHIT!)
Now, despite going into the cinema with a rant-a-ready for the god awful movie that would surely unfold before my eyes, i must say i come out of the theatre pleasantly surprised. Not blown away but certainly entertained. The plot if you haven't heard it yet is that Mike O'Donnell's (Matthew Perry) life is in the crapper. He's stuck in a job going nowhere, his wife is leaving him and his kids want nothing to do with him. Thinking to himself that his entire life went wrong during the biggest basketball match of his High School career where he chose to go with his up-the-duff girlfriend rather than play in the match and get a scholarship to college. One spirit guide later (Who looks suspiciously like Santa Clause for the record) and hey presto! All of a sudden he is transformed into a 17 year old (Zac Efron) all over again and shenanigans ensue.
It's your basic body swap plot but the scene's all set fairly well, and you never get the feeling of the film unnecesarily lingering on anything too predictable even though we all know what's going to happen (wow you are leaning over that bridge awfully far, i wonder if you'll fall into that time vortex down there? DUH).
Zac Efron proves himself to be a more than capable comic actor, deliverig all the one liners with a sense of charisma that helps keep the film moving a particular highlight being his grandstanding speech delivered to the school bully in front of the canteen. Leslie Mann is also impressive as ever as Mike’s soon to be ex-wife, however she’s not really given much to do and the way her character reacts towards young Mike is a bit messed up, first suggesting she won’t have a relationship with a kid, spending the rest of the film leading him on then slapping him when he kisses her. That’s women, I suppose. However In spite of the other good performances, the real star of the film is definitely Mike's best friend/ fake father Ned played by Thomas Lennon who plays the geeky sidekick role with aplomb. All his set pieces including a highly entertaining lightsaber duel with Efron and several grandstanding shows of love for the school's headteacher fall just the right side of entertaining and help pick the film up after the so-called "dramatic scenes".
Ah yes, now there are the scenes that try to be deep and give the film an emotional core. The acting is all capably done in these scenes, but for a film that thrives on it's frenetic pace, these scenes slow it down too much. It kills the mood of the film and it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the dialogoue in these scenes wasn't straight from script writing 101. The advice given in this film is so stock it could have been lifted from literally any film of this genre and it's so bland i'm struggling to recall a single line of it. Trust me it WAS bad though.
A special mention of awful should also go to the scenes involving Michelle Trachtenberg and Zac Efron as she tries to seduce him. He's her dad, it's weird. I know that's what they were going for but still it is a nasty nasty thought.
Overall, i liked it. I didn't love it and i probably won't see the film again but if someone were to ask me to go see it or it were on TV, i'd watch it. for all the scenes that drag and have cliched dialogue, there are two that work well in the film. for the most part the script is snappy and entertaining. and honestly, for what it is there are'n't really too many complaints i can level at this film. the ones i can moan about are enough to drag it down down quite a bit and so overall i give 17 Again...
Thanks for reading,