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Ashley’s Review : 17 Again

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I feel like I’ve seen ”13 Going on 30”, wait no ”The Family Man”, wait no ”17 Again” before.  Though not an original idea, this take offers something for middle aged guys, their kids and wives to possibly enjoy together.  Zac Efron plays Mike O’Donnell (adult version played by Matthew Perry), his high school’s basketball all star and on track to getting a basketball scholarship for college.

Scarlett (played as a teen by Allison Miller and as an adult by Leslie Mann) shows up to Mike’s game and announces she’s pregnant.  Even though he knows it will ruin his chances of getting a scholarship, Mike proposes and walks out on the game and ignores the college scouts.  He spends the next couple of decades upset with his decision and unfulfilled by his job, watching younger people advance faster than him at the company.  Fed up with his attitude, Scarlett asks for a divorce and soon after, Mike also loses his job and goes to stay with his uber rich and nerdy best friend since high school, Ned Gold (Thomas Lennon).

Reminiscing about his past, Mike visits his high school and admires his trophies and old photo with his team.  A Santa Claus look-a-like janitor (Brian Doyle-Murray) asks Mike if he wishes he could go back to high school and Mike says yes.  Not long after, Mike turns into a teenager again and has to convince Ned that he is still the same person.

Once the identity issue is resolved, the pair work on making Mike a cool teenager so that he will blend in at the high school.  His children, Maggie (Michelle Trachtenberg) and Alex (Sterling Knight) have no clue the new friend in their group is their dad.  Mike helps his son gain popularity and keeps his daughter away from her violent and over sexual boyfriend, all while trying to win back his wife.

The story has a few interesting twists when, in a ”Back to the Future” moment in reverse, Maggie hits on her dad.  It is a fun story with a predictable happily ever after ending, but what else could one expect from a Zac Efron starring pic?  Zac does seem to possess that “it” factor that will keep audiences around for years to come, whichever direction his career takes post Disney and which ever shade of tan he chooses to keep.

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