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Apr 4th
11:24 pm
NOTW's 17 Again Review  
17 Again (12A)
Verdict: Zac To The Future ****

By Robbie Collin, 05/04/2009

STOP me if you've heard this one before, will you?

A depressed dad thinks his life amounts to nothing, until a kindly angel shows him the error of his ways after getting him to jump off a bridge.

No? OK, how about this-thanks to a time-travelling stunt, a loser goes back to high school to help out one relative while fending off the affections of another.

Not ringing any bells? Right, try this-a guy who wishes he was another age suddenly finds himself living in a different body.

Nope? All right, you must know this one-there's a hunky high school kid, played by Zac Efron, who's really good at dancing but wants to make a name for himself in the world of pro-basketball.

No? Well, congratulations, reader. Here's a movie the like of which you've never seen before.

17 Again. Or, as you might already know it: It's Back To The Wonderful Big Future Life, School Musical 3.

As shamelessly unoriginal a film as has ever parped its way off a Hollywood scribble-merchant's printer, it stars wax-faced, porcelain-grinned pod creature Zac, my future wife Leslie Mann from Knocked Up, and Matthew "Don't Call Me Chandler" Perry (17 Stone Again).

Nearly every last plot-point, character and gag in this half-term contender has been ripped off-brazenly-from other, better films.

But here's the thing. When those stolen goods are pieced together against the odds you get a very enjoyable, and often fantastically funny, teen movie.

Mike O'Donnell (Perry) feels like he's wasted his life. Twenty years ago, he found out his high school sweetheart Scarlett was pregnant so, rather than follow his dream into the college basketball circuit, he "does the right thing", gets married- and lives to regret it.

Now he's stuck with two kids (Sterling Knight and Gossip Girl's Michelle Trachtenberg) who can barely be bothered to talk to him; an estranged wife (Leslie Mann) who wants nothing to do with him unless he's signing their divorce papers; and a job where he's constantly playing second fiddle to younger, smarter, female colleagues. So when a mysterious old man asks if he'd like to have his time over again, Mike jumps at the chance.

One bare-faced lift of the river rescue scene from It's A Wonderful Life later, Mike emerges from the water-coughing, caked in mud and looking like Zac Efron.

He's 17 again and has a second chance at his high school senior year, where this time he can "get his priorities straight".



For Mike, these are training his son for the school basketball team, landing a college scholarship for himself, and keeping his daughter out of the sex-hungry clutches of the school bully.

And there we have the film's first genuine surprise. Sex. In a Zac Efron movie.

Parents be warned: 17 Again is a hell of a lot fruitier than the clean-cut High School Musical franchise. But that's no bad thing. Efron (or more likely, his agent) knows the then-tweenage fans of the first HSM film are now three years older... and ready for something racier.

And 17 Again delivers it. Inevitably, there are sex gags and Zac gets his shirt off, a lot. But some of it has a naughty, even taboo-breaking edge. Your toes will curl when teenage Mike lusts after his adult wife -and they'll tie into a full-on granny knot when he gets romantic attention from his teenage daughter.



It's been done before, of course, in Back To The Future. And plausibility is stretched a fair old bit. If I was Mike's wife, and a mysterious kid turned up who looked suspiciously like my other half, only one explanation would jump to mind-and it wouldn't be the "husband jumped into time vortex" one. But the point is, even though 17 Again might be one of the most cynical, unoriginal teen movies ever made, any doubts you might have soon evaporate thanks to the film's 24- carat likeability.

Charm like this cannot be faked. And aside from special mentions for Leslie Mann and the hilarious subplot in which Mike's nerdy best mate (Thomas Lennon) tries to date the headmistress (Melora Hardin), the film's success is almost entirely down to Zac.

High School Musical was the perfect showcase for this guy's charisma. And on the evidence here, he may be the first Disney Channel star to make the jump from tween idol to a proper big-screen star.

Which leads to an intriguing possibility-if he's still in work in 2029, Zac could do a remake playing his older self.

Although if he looks anything like Matthew Perry by that stage, he might well jump off the bridge for real.

source

There is also a nice video clip here.

LOL. That's a really nice review. I'd like to believe they'll all be that nice but I'm pretty sure they won't be. I'm still trying to figure out if Larry Carroll's twitter from yesterday night's screening was sarcasm or not. I'm pretty sure it was sarcasm, but since it rarely works in print, it's hard to know because that's something he should be well aware of by now. Anyway, I'm sure we'll find out later.

That said my goals in terms of reviews are: 60% positive range for the film in general but with Zac-oriented comments 90% positive.
 
 
Mood: sleepysleepy
41 41 comments Comment
 
 
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
What a horrible lead-in to what becomes a realitely positive review.

nice quotes:

But here's the thing. When those stolen goods are pieced together against the odds you get a very enjoyable, and often fantastically funny, teen movie.

High School Musical was the perfect showcase for this guy's charisma. And on the evidence here, he may be the first Disney Channel star to make the jump from tween idol to a proper big-screen star.



what did Larry Carroll say?
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
relatively*
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 06:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 06:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 06:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
zaccy23zaccy23 on April 5th, 2009 05:49 am (UTC)
Charm like this cannot be faked is probably one of my favorite things uttered about this movie so far!!!
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
If the reviews continue to be; a mostly unoriginal yet thoroughly enjoyable journey in 17 Again...I think the film could be a surprise hit.

I hope the straight male audience turn out for the film for the added BO gross, but I know it's not the target audience.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
everything is trending really well in terms of google searches. but we'll have to see how the limited press from this week affected imdb traffic. neither of those necessarily translate into box office gold though.

but i will say that i was impressed that there are like 12000 fans on facebook and it seems to be growing by hundreds and hundreds each day.

i mean that is about on par with where i love you man is currently. it isn't dark knight level of fandom but still good.

the only thing that can really hurt it now (maybe) is really really awful reviews and so far we haven't seen that many of those. sooo..... fingers crossed.
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 06:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
The Mirror likes it too. :)

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/04/05/zac-to-basics-115875-21254619/

17 AGAIN 12A, 105mins Opens Friday, April 10 THE STARS Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Matthew Perry, Michelle Trachtenberg, Sterling Knight.

THE STORY

As a 17-year-old back in 1989, Mike O'Donnell (Efron) was a sports star with a future, but gave it up when he found out his girlfriend Scarlett was pregnant.

Twenty years later and adult Mike (Perry) is passed over for promotion while his marriage to Scarlett (Mann) is falling apart. But after a strange incident, Mike is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17 - at the same high school as his teenage son. But although he looks 17, he still has the mindset of an almost-40- year-old.

THE VERDICT

All the elements might sound familiar (mix a little It's A Wonderful Life with Big, add a dash of High School Musical and see what you get) but I'm big enough to admit that 17 Again is a thoroughly charming and entertaining time-switch comedy - and it confirms Zac Efron as THE heartthrob for the teen generation.

But while Efron looking cool and flexing his pecs will draw in the teen girl audience, the film is also funny and thoughtful enough to appeal to older audiences. After all, Friends star Matthew Perry is still funny and engaging, and Leslie Mann is a darling of the indie comedy scene (married to director Judd Apatow, and a star of Knocked Up).

The recent UK premiere was just the place to soak up the adoration young teens have for Zac Efron
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 06:19 am (UTC)
awesome!
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 06:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
It's Audrey not Aubrey: Ruby Redaudrey_za on April 5th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC)
"Charm like this cannot be faked. []the film's success is almost entirely down to Zac."

Ummm *brb, grabbing Kleenex*

lol at "and they'll tie into a full-on granny knot", haha.
wild at heart: ( ze ) ` reflectivvvve `jukeboxblues on April 5th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
Your toes will curl when teenage Mike lusts after his adult wife -and they'll tie into a full-on granny knot when he gets romantic attention from his teenage daughter.

This is the part that I was hoping wouldn't happen. I couldn't deal with that whole Chad Michael Murray/Jamie Lee Curtis thing in that one parent trap remake. I had to TURN IT OFF.


But hopefully the rest of the movie will make up for that awkwardness.

I'm pretty excited to see how he does with this, all the reviews are just making me more-so.
(Deleted comment)
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on April 5th, 2009 07:46 am (UTC)
lol.
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - calcified on April 5th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Racheliamrachelryan on April 5th, 2009 07:52 am (UTC)
I love reading all these reviews on my flist!

Also, I just saw that Zac is hosting SNL next week and thought of you lol.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
i am so pumped for it. omg!
The mirror crack'd from side to side: Zac_smile_jacketsekhmet2 on April 5th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
I think that a lot of reviews are going to be like this, frankly. They're going to bang on about the unoriginality of the plot (which we can all pretty much agree on), but I think that a great many of them are going to be surprised about and comment positively on Zac's likeability and talent in making the film much more than just another Hollywood rehash of Big/Back to the Future/whatever. Zac is going to be what makes this movie stand out, and I suspect that a lot of people, reviewers especially, will be going into it expecting a cheese-fest and coming out with a new appreciation for what this guy can do. And, rightly so...he's got a tremendous amount of talent and it's about time that people see that he's a lot more than just a cardboard Disney clone.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
this is exactly what i hope for.

they are a lot like the reviews for 13 going on 30 where they pretty much all praised jennifer garner but found the movie a little cliched.
(no subject) - sekhmet2 on April 6th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 6th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekhmet2 on April 6th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bettybaby63 on April 5th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekhmet2 on April 6th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bettybaby63 on April 6th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
superstar5622superstar5622 on April 5th, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
Good reviews like this make me want to see it even more and make me feel less guilty about it. Yay!
zaccy23zaccy23 on April 5th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
I know this is off topic but I can't believe Fast and the Furious made $72.5 million dollars this weekend. I've been trying to figure out how much 17 again needs to make to be a success? Like is $20 million too low? too high? Do you think it matters more about the amount or that it is number one? Yes this is what I think about on Sunday afternoon:/
bettybaby63bettybaby63 on April 5th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
i think if its number one, they won't focus as much on the actual box office, cause it could be a low $$ amount but still manage to be number one, but if its doesn't come in #1 i think they'll talk more about the dollar amount.

i don't know what would be considered a good $$$ amount for this film. i think its usually tied to how much it cost to make....in the scheme of things, i'm sure this movie didn't have a big budget.

i just saw a commercial for another movie that's coming out the same weekend, but i can't remember what the name was?

does anyone know......if i remember it seemed like a guys movie, so 17 could have some competition!
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 5th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
long winded response lol
17 again's budget was somewhere around $20 million dollars before advertising costs. based on what we've seen in terms of advertising they spent a lot on that but i couldn't guess how much, millions though.

how much it will make also depends on the number of theaters they open it in. typically a comedy like this would open on around 2500-2700 theaters and make between $14-$24 million dollars on opening weekend.

but with zac in it (and the postive response it seems to be getting) they might open it to 3000-3200 theaters in hopes of reaching $30-$40 million.

my best (and safest) guess is a $22 million opening. that i would be very happy with. i'd be ecstatic with $30+ million and disappointed with less than $13 million.

crank 2 and state of play are the other movies opening that weekend.

crank 2 doesn't share too big of a demo with 17 again and none of jason stathan's movies have opened higher than $16 million since transporter 2. but it is definitely a wild card (especially with how big fast and furious opened). if they open it on 3400 theaters i'd be worried about it genuinely. but since it has a lot smaller fanbase than fast and furious, if it stays (as his last two films have) at 2600 theaters i'm not too worried. i'd guess around $16 million max.

state of play will not be competition i don't think. on top of the fact that nobody wants these kinds of movies right now, a serious oscar-type drama opening in april doesn't seem right... it sends a signal that it isn't very good (whether or not it is). plus i don't think it is action-packed enough to draw the demo that would go to something like eagle eye. i'd guess around $10-12 million.

the hold-over competition will mainly be fast and furious and hannah montana. both of these should have significant drops on their second and third weeks. 40-50% drops are typical but fast and furious could nosedive as badly as friday the thirteenth did. friday the thirteenth was also unexpectedly successful its first weekend but dropped 80% the next weekend. if it is 50% it would be down to about $15 million against 17 again, 80% would take it down to about $7 million.

hannah montana is a little unpredictable like hsm3 was. but based on search traffic and less interest from young adults, i think it will do less than hsm3 and end up around $35 million its opening weekend. so it would end up around $15 million against 17 again.

so all in all there is a good chance 17 again would end up number one, but there are a lot of unknowns in the equation. hopefully how it opens in the uk and australia will give us a sign of how the interest transfers to box office.
Re: long winded response lol - zaccy23 on April 5th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
zaccy23zaccy23 on April 5th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
it's main competition is going to be hannah montana, state of play (russell crowe, rachel mcadams, ben affleck--though it's not getting a ton of promo) and crank (sequal with jason strantham) so hopefully everyone sees hannah the week before and then sees 17 again the next week. The other two movies are definitely a different demo.
bettybaby63bettybaby63 on April 5th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
ok it was state of play that i saw the trailer for LOL.

aside from hanna montana, those other two will definately draw the guys in, but we all know that typically the GFs dictate what the movie will be for date night.

and just an aside, i was at the movies the other week, crank looks whoa, no way i'd ever go see that, gave me a headache just watching the trailer.
bettybaby63bettybaby63 on April 6th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
EHW---somehow i missed your long-winded post LOL

but i thank you for your knowledge.......

given your info i think the movie has a good chance of scoring big at the box office, and if the reviews remain positive, it may well exceed expectations.
jessica3311: Rolling Stonejessica3311 on April 6th, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
What a great review! And IA EHS about the box office numbers/chances!