Anyway continuing my efforts to avoid doing my homework I am posting even more reviews!!!!
Channel 4 Film
three out of five stars
A divorced, jobless Matthew Perry wishes for a second chance at life, and gets it, in this career-change vehicle for High School Musical star Zac Efron
Forget about wanting to be 17 again, all that misplaced anxiety, smalltown life, and having to be home for dinner. If there's a body swapping situation happening, you're going to want to come back as Zac Efron. If you're Matthew Perry, and everyone keeps telling you they can't see where it all went wrong, because, really, you were the funniest 'Friend', then you're definitely going to want to come back as Zac Efron. And if the pay-off is only 10 minutes of actual screen time in which comparisons between your face and his are less than flattering, then so be it.
Zac Efron "is the future" according to the April 2009 issue of 'Interview' magazine. Looking at their photo shoot - Zac, sand, mud, naked model - it's hard to disagree. For starters, he looks otherworldly, mixing boy-band femininity, ethereality and hollow cheeked 'Picture Of Dorian Gray'-style sophistication. This boy can sing, he can dance, and he has a universal appeal that means he is loved by mothers and their 12-year-old daughters. Efron, alongside real-life girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens of Disney's High School Musical franchise, has been looking to take his leap to the dark side for ages. When you are borne of Disney, any side is the dark side, even 17 Again.
An 'accident' involving the release of nude photos of his long-term girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens a few years back marked Zac out as a keeper. The photos were Disney-approved porn - completely innocuous, but in the land where Hannah Montana's bare back can get on the evening news, it was a step in the right direction. They might as well have made Zac leave the house in a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, 'I Have Sex' - but either way, it did the job of turning him from a long-lashed, cutesy baby into something, more, well, interesting. America might feign horror when Janet Jackson reveals a decorated nipple in the middle of the Super Bowl, but when there's money to be made, it's all about the Google searches.
Just like a caterpillar shedding its cocoon, the first time we see Zac Efron in 17 Again he's dancing with the cheerleaders at his super-important basketball game. The final star-jump rips his Velcroed trousers off to reveal, well, some shorts - but he does it with the enthusiasm of a stripper at a hen party. As the star player, he's all ready to get a sports scholarship for college and continue his charmed life, but then his girlfriend Scarlett (Leslie Mann) appears, she's pregnant, and being a nice Disney-sponsored guy, he runs out on the game and proposes. Cue time-jump.
So, 20 years later, Matthew Perry plays Mike O'Donnell, a grumpy old man - he's lost Scarlett and his job, and his teenage son and daughter don't like him. "I am extremely disappointed with my life" he tells Scarlett in a tone a little too real for comfort. When collecting his children from high school, the same school he used to attend, he discovers an old photo and tells a smiley, twinkly janitor that he'd love to do-over his life. Next thing we know there's some rain, a bridge, and he's falling into a time-travelling, body-swapping magical whirlpool, and is 17 again - 17, and Zac Efron.
So begins his journey of enlightenment which, if we know anything about Hollywood bodyswap film history (see 13 Going On 30, Big, 18 Again!) will involve some hard life lessons and an eventual return to the newly appreciated, improved status quo. What better way for Zac Efron to make that all-important career jump than to play an older man in his younger man's body, thereby getting to expand his range dealing with the very un-Disney problem of divorce, without actually having to live up to his otherworldly looks.
Young Mike attends a party at a bowling alley, and as the girls line up to throw themselves at him, rather than take advantage of this, he sits them down for a lecture on self-respect and chastity."If you don't respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect you?" he asks sternly, "Don't respect me," they each race to reply, and then one pipes up, "You don't even have to remember my name". It's his watershed moment. The camera pans back to his glowing face, and with a small smile, Zac Efron crosses over.
Zac Efron is the future. Go see what we're in for.
three out of five stars
Enjoyable, frequently funny body swap comedy with likeable characters, a decent script and a superb central performance from Zac Efron.
What's it all about?
Directed by Burr Steers, 17 Again opens in 1989 with 17-year-old Mike (Zac Efron) choosing to marry his pregnant girlfriend Scarlet instead of following a promising high school basketball career. Flash forward to the present and Mike (now played by Matthew Perry) finds his life falling apart: Scarlet (Leslie Mann) has initiated divorce proceedings, his teenage kids (Michelle Trachtenberg as Maggie and Sterling Knight as Alex) don't seem to like him very much, he's lost his job and he's reduced to crashing with his high school nerd turned techno billionaire best friend Ned (Thomas Lennon).
However, when Mike wishes that he could be a teenager again he falls into a magical whirlpool (don't ask) and is transformed into the 17-year-old version of himself (Efron again). Enrolling in high school, Mike quickly figures out that he's supposed to help his kids in some way, but complications ensue when he discovers that Alex is picked on at school and Maggie is dating the class bully (Hunter Parrish). And to make matters worse, Mike somehow has to stop Scarlet from moving on with her life, even though she's now old enough to be his mother.
Efron is an extremely likeable lead (High School Musical fans should note there's some dancing but no singing) and proves a surprisingly good dramatic actor to boot. In particular, he completely nails the film's emotional climax and he also has convincing chemistry with Mann.
In addition, Steers has assembled a great comic cast and ensures that each character gets the chance to shine. Highlights include Ned's sub-plot romance with foxy Principal Masterson (Melora Hardin), Alex's disastrous chat-up attempts and Mike fending off his daughter's unexpectedly aggressive advances when she develops a crush on him.
As body swap movies go, 17 Again is no Freaky Friday, but it's still a lot of fun, thanks to likeable performances and an engaging script. Recommended.
Review by Victor Olliver - Honey, I shrunk my ID! That's an alternative title. Matthew Perry, at 5ft 11+, wakes up to find himself shorter at 5ft 9.
True, the 20-year-younger new self is Zac Efron playing 17, but even so. Not even plastic surgery could account for the total (total!) lack of similarity.
But there's an inner logic here. Perry was once where Efron now is: an unspoilt pretty boy before rot set in.
So 17 Again is a triumph of casting genius to rival the Davis/Crawford pairing in Baby Jane.
Lifting the plot of Peggy Sue Got Married, Freaky Friday, Like Father Like Son, Big, 13 Going On 30 and, oh, I must get on...
Yes, lifting the body-switch plots from several movies, Perry's Mike O'Donnell, 37, finds himself at 17 again and ready this time to learn life's lessons.
Yet for all the outrageous story thievings, and the complete absence of physical symphony between its stars, Jason Filardi's script is a winner.
Awkward situations - such as Efron's O'Donnell dancing with his mom's friend and his encounters with his future ex-wife - are treated with a blissful and rare lightness of touch.
Adult O'Donnell's billionaire friend Ned (Tom Lennon) is also inspired.
Locating Efron in a high school is not just a story lift but a clever piece of product placement - as the star of the phenomenal High School Musical hits.
Despite ludicrous prettiness, with a pesky fringe and a boyish facility for spinning a basketball on one digit, he opens up a comic range unsuspected as HSM's catalogue modelesque Troy Bolton.
He comes across as knowing, ironic, smart. It's not a fair world, is it?
Perry, too, is equal to the script and all too credible as a man who's not lived up to his early promise.
Facial sag is testimony to a mis-spent adulthood: Efron's gorgeousness is an onscreen reproach, a sort of ambient reminder of what has been lost. If there are lessons to be learnt then getting a decent night's kip is one.
Abracadabra! It's enough to make you believe in magic wands. Verdict 4/5
Time Out London
Updating the traditions of bodyswap comedy for teens weaned on ‘High School Musical’, this is light, forgettable but surprisingly well-constructed multiplex fodder. Fired from his job and on the verge of losing his family, middle-aged Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry) dreams of the days when he was a high school basketball star. But when an encounter with a janitor transforms him into his 17-year-old self (a winning turn from Zac Efron, below), he finds that life as a teenager isn’t how he remembered it.
With its monochrome morality, nerds v jocks characterisation and narrative nods to John Hughes, this is so ’80s that one expects Judge Reinhold to wander in. But the leads are charming, the comedy well judged and the script, however predictable, sure-footed, playing on notions of midlife nostalgia with grace and integrity.
Times Online UK - James Christopher
three out of five stars
Ah, how much more pleasant high-school life would be if you fell off a bridge and woke up as Zac Ephron. In Burr Steer’s romantic comedy, 17 Again, a fat middle-aged slob called Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry) suffers this insanely privileged fate. He gets a second chance to play college basketball and flirt with his nearly divorced wife (Leslie Mann), who fails to recognise the drop-dead gorgeous youth she went out with 20 years ago.
Amusing, wholesome fun for young teenage swooners who will squirm with horror at the adults who ought to know better.
three out of five stars
The tween and teen sensation that is Zac Efron displays his supernova star wattage once more with this reversal of the classic kids’ film Big.
Whether it does for him what Big did for Tom Hanks is debatable, but there is no doubt Zac addicts everywhere will leave very happy (the very first shot has their idol shirtless).
Pitched between the body swap of movies of the 80s (without the actual body swap) and Back to the Future, this is edgier than those High School Musical movies. A 12 certificate for sexual innuendo it includes passing mentions of erections and teen pregnancy, and the adolescent Mike has to fight off advances from his hormonally charged teenage daughter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Trachtenberg).
But, being 37 years old inside, Zac is able to do such parent friendly things as espouse the virtues of abstinence in a Sex Ed. class, verbally dress down the school bully trying to reach last base with his daughter, and boost the confidence of his harassed, wallflower son (Knight).
Mike’s attempts to woo back his soon-to-divorced wife (Mann, Mrs Judd Apatow) eat into too much high school screen time, but Igby Goes Down director Steers attempts to go for character over gross-out, even if Jason Filardi’s scattershot script can’t get the balance between romcom and knockabout comedy right.
Adults will find amusement in Mike’s discovery that waking up in a 17 year old body is akin to acquiring superpowers, while his nerdy best friend (Lennon) is good for giggles in his attempt to woo the high school principal.
Three stars for its undemanding fun and occasional wry barb about lost youth. But, add one or even two more stars depending on how much bedroom wall space Zac currently commands.
four out of five stars
Safety alert: see 17 Again at the wrong time and you’ll be swamped by screaming teens. 17 Again, you see, stars Zac Efron, High School Musical heart-throb… and with that, thousands of readers flee to the next review. But here’s the shocker: 17 Again is actually pretty good.
Efron plays Mike O’Donnell, hunky high school basketball star (this is news?). However, Mike then learns his girl’s up the duff, and chucks in teen glory for a life of wedded bliss. Twenty years later, Mike has metamorphed into Matthew “Chandler-from-Friends” Perry, on the brink of divorce and bitching over his wasted life. A twinkly stranger offers him the chance to have his time over, then dives from a bridge (yup, It’s A Wonderful Life). Mike follows and is rejuvenated to Efron-hood, allowing him to see his wife and kids from a whole new perspective…
It may read like a reverse of Big, or a retread of second chance fare like The Family Man. Actually, 17 Again turns into an unofficial remake of Back To The Future, and an alarmingly smart one. The film gets through its fetishisation of Efron’s abs quickly, then plunges straight into paging-Dr-Freud regions. The 17-year old Mike has a teen “daughter” – Buffy’s Michelle Trachtenberg – and adult “wife”, neither of whom recognise him... you do the math. Even with the clean-cut Efron deflecting perviness, there’s a reason why the BBFC rated this 12A against the distributor’s wishes.
Even if you’re immune to Efron’s Valley Boy looks, he carries the film; he’s charming, engaging and funny as he conveys a protagonist trying to unite past and present selves (though no way do you believe that Perry is the same character). Sidekick Thomas Lennon plays a pointy-eared geek stereotype that’s two decades out of date, but with a superlative payoff. It’s just a shame most over-17s won’t dare see this in a cinema…
seven out of ten
Zac Efron does Big meets Vice Versa in this very entertaining body swap comedy.
Who's in it? Zac Efron, Matthew Perry
What's it about? Mike’s life didn't quite turn out how he wanted it to, he wishes could go back to high school, wakes up and is seventeen again.
What type of film is it? Comedy
Is it any good? Many people will have put Zac Efron in a box as just another pretty guy who is great to look at but talent wise is a one trick pony. Those Doubting Thomas’ might want to think again. Admittedly, this is not a million miles away from High School Musical and it’s firmly in the teen movie camp, however there are some very clear signals here that Zac can act, has potential and has got what it takes to open a movie. Is 17 Again original? Not really. Is 17 Again going to be one of the biggest hits of the year? Not really. Is 17 Again going to entertain whoever goes to see it? Most probably. It’s a simple film with some good, clean, sweet and funny moments that will give you a good feeling. The cast play second fiddle to Zac who shows he has star quality but they all do their bit to make this a fun ride. Zac has star quality and it starts to shine here. He’s got an exciting future ahead of him – and it’s not just amongst the tween audience.
Marks out of 10? 7
In the News UK
5.5 out of 10
In a nutshell...
Efron takes his shirt off in a backwards Big.
What's it all about?
Having abandoned a promising basketball career for his pregnant girlfriend, Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) is left wondering what might have been as he looks back on 20 years of feeling unfulfilled, even with a wife and family.
When a chance encounter with a mysterious janitor transforms Mike back to the age of 17 (Zac Efron now taking the role), he has a chance to recapture his glory days as well as discovering what really matters.
Who's in it?
Four-time Emmy nominee Matthew Perry, best known as Friends' Chandler Bing, stars as the adult Mike but the leading man of 17 Again is undoubtedly teen heartthrob and High School Musical star Zac Efron. As well as starring in the Disney musical behemoth, Efron played Link Larkin in 2007's Hairspray and can soon be seen alongside Claire Danes and Ben Chaplin in Me and Orson Welles.
Co-stars included Knocked Up actress (and wife of Judd Apatow) Leslie Mann, actor-comedian Thomas Lennon (soon to be seen in I Love You, Man) and Buffy star Michelle Trachtenberg.
As an example…
"I am extremely disappointed with my life." - Mike
"I never asked you to marry me… " - Scarlet
"Yeah, but I did." - Mike
"Are you, or have you ever been, a Norse god, vampire or time-travelling cyborg?" - Ned
"I've known you since 1st grade, I think I would've told you!" - Mike
"… A vampire wouldn't tell… " - Ned
Likelihood of a trip to the Oscars
Replace the word "Oscars" with "Kids' Choice awards" and now you're talking. This'll sweep the board and expect big numbers at the box office.
What the others say
"Zac has star quality and it starts to shine here. He's got an exciting future ahead of him – and it's not just amongst the tween audience." - Simon Thompson, Heart 106.2
"Amusing, wholesome fun for young teenage swooners who will squirm with horror at the adults who ought to know better." - James Christopher, Times
So is it any good?
If you're a girl aged between six and 16, then the comfortable sitcom laughs, a plot easier to follow than an episode of In the Night Garden and umpteen shots of a shirtless Zac Efron means 17 Again will probably be your favourite film since… ooh, High School Musical 3?
For anyone outside of the target audience, much of your enjoyment will depend on i) your ability to quell your frustration at the script's shameless theft from about 12 other films and ii) managing to ignore the at-times outlandish hypocrisy of a script that sees Efron delivering abstinence lectures while strolling around topless or staring lovingly at his own reflection.
These - admittedly major - grievances are a pity for 17 Again is a fish-out-of-water comedy that though predictable, manages to deliver consistent laughs. A neat subplot involving Mike's ubergeek best friend Ned (Lennon) trying to ensnare the heart of the headmistress (Melora Hardin) is fun throughout and Efron again proves that despite the constraints of Disney, he's actually a fine actor with impressive comic timing. He's frankly too pretty for his own good and if his behind-the-scenes team will allow him to make a film that doesn't involve dancing, basketball and loving close-ups, there's a promising career awaiting the 21-year-old.
3 out of 5 stars
Anyone under the age of 17 needs no introduction to Zac Efron (pictured), multi-talented hunky star of High School Musical.
Over 17s should think a 21st-century Michael J Fox who gets his Back To The Future moment in an amiable body-swap comedy.
Both generations are catered for in this well-cast tale of Mike (Matthew 'Chandler off Friends' Perry), a bitter thirtysomething father of two who never got over quitting college basketball to stand by his pregnant girlfriend – then gets a second chance when he's transformed into his 17-year-old self (Efron).
Boasting good comic delivery and a surprising ability to jerk the tears, Efron proves he's more than a pretty face, though the fact he's already topless in scene one shows the studio knows which way its bread is buttered.
ETA: Telegraph UK
Zac Efron stars in another high-school movie that - to the amazement of this critic - isn't too bad at all. Rating: * * *
They charged. They screamed. They beat at the doors with fists. Those G20 protesters had nothing on the baying mob of Zac Efron fan girls who converged on the critics’ screening of 17 Again.
What’s the deal with Zac Efron? Doesn’t he look a bit like a minor Thundercat? No matter — within seconds of the film starting, he was shooting hoops with his shirt off, and giggling anticipation was replaced by a primal, almost religious hush.
Efron, 21 in real life, won’t be acting on high-school basketball courts for much longer. He’s been keen to muck up his squeaky-clean image lately, doing raunchy fashion shoots with nude models covered in sand, and posting suspiciously staged “rude” antics in his swimming pool on YouTube.
Still, nothing could remind us more jarringly of his farewell to sylph-like adolescence than the moment in this film when we cut to his future self, and he is played by Matthew Perry. You could fit about four Zac Efrons in the bags under Matthew Perry’s eyes.
The premise here is that Efron’s Mike O’Donnell settled for a cosy life with his pregnant-at-17 sweetheart, played in furious, estranged adulthood by Leslie Mann. His disappointment at being Matthew Perry is such that he takes a nostalgia trip back to school, has a brief conversation with a twinkly, Capraesque mystical caretaker, and tumbles down a wormhole. Suddenly he’s back being Zac, except this is, like, totally Twilight Zone, since no one around him has changed a bit.
Most audience members, turned into Zac Efron by a freak of fate, might have slightly more creative ideas about how to make the most of it, but do remember this is a 12A. He enrols in school with his children, pretending to be the long lost son of their Uncle Ned — an internet billionaire and prize geek hilariously played by Thomas Lennon. Their mum is the only one who recognises him — the always-enjoyable Mann has a great scene prodding his face, as if it’s impossible that anyone could actually be Zac Efron.
I’ll come right out and say it: this isn’t too bad at all. For the director, Burr Steers, it’s a big step up on the intensely annoying Igby Goes Down. For Zac, quite sweet at acting all paternal and concerned while fending off the ravenous advances of his own daughter (Michelle Trachtenberg), it’s a chance to show range.
And the subplot with Uncle Ned dating the school principal (none-more-aloof Melora Hardin) has a very funny payoff when it turns out they both speak Elvish.
Not everyone at the screening made a bee-line for Claire’s Accessories straight afterwards — I’m so over that place — but a perfectly fine time was had by all.
Telegraph Rating: * * *