This is Ron Salfen, “At the Movies,” and here’s
my commentary on a film now playing at The Majestic Theater
C’mon, admit it, the thought has occurred to you
that you’d like to be 17 years old again.
Maybe this time you’d try out for the track team,
just to see what would happen.
Maybe this time you’d study harder for that
this time you wouldn’t unceremoniously dump the nice nerd
in order to do the teenage rebellion thing, only to realize
much too late that you were just another rebel without a
In “17 Again,” Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry)
was the high school basketball star who dropped out (and
gave up his scholarship) to marry his pregnant girlfriend.
Now, it’s twenty-something years later, the
marriage is on the rocks, and their two teenagers are now in
high school themselves, with all the accompanying challenges
of their own generation.
Through a quirky set of circumstances not quite worth
rehearsing here, Mike gets another chance to be “17
trouble is, he’s a middle-aged man in a teenager’s body
(the teenager played by Zac Efron).
He lectures the health class (which his daughter also
attends) on the importance of abstinence (as the teacher
hands out the condoms, proclaiming that it’s unrealistic
to expect teenagers to not be sexually active).
He does his best to fix the lives of both his kids
(discouraging his daughter’s punk boyfriend, and
encouraging his son in the face of the school bullies), but
mostly, he pines for his old relationship with his own high
school flame, his now-estranged wife.
This movie could have been played a lot of ways, and
true, it’s been done before, but in this version, they go
for the sweet-spirited.
Mike O’Donnell, the man who spent ‘way too much
time dreaming about what might have been, realizes, after
he’s trapped in his youthful self, how much he misses what
he did have, and carelessly neglected.
Well, maybe being 17 is not nearly as great as we
remember it. Or
even, if we somehow had a chance to do it over, would it be
as amazing as we might have imagined it? Being more
appreciative of the loving relationships around you isn’t
a bad moral at all. The
trouble is, it’s not the adults who will see this movie,
it’s the kids, and it’s not really aimed at them,
many a teenage girl will revel in staring at Zac Efron for a
while, even when he acts goofy.
As a teenage heartthrob, Mom and Dad, the kids could
do a lot worse.
This is Ron Salfen,
“At The Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM