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DVD Review

DVD cover

17 Again


Starring: Zac Efron, Thomas Lennon, Matthew Perry, Leslie Mann, Sterling Knight and Michelle Trachtenberg
Entertainment in Video
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 10 August 2009

Class of 1989 and Mike O’Donnell is a star on the high school basketball court with a bright future in his grasp. He decides to throw it all away to share his life with his girlfriend Scarlett and the baby he has just learned they are expecting. Fast forward 20 years and Mike’s glory days are decidedly behind him. His marriage to Scarlett has fallen apart, he’s been passed over for promotion, his teenage kids think he’s a loser and he has been reduced to crashing with his high school nerd-turned-techno-billionaire best friend, Ned. But Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17. Unfortunately, in trying to recapture his best years, he could very well lose the best things that ever happened to him...

17 Again takes a common fantasy of those in their mid-thirties who look back at a pivotal time in their young lives and wonder what would have happened if they'd made a different decision. However, instead of being given the chance to go back in time and chose a different path the protagonist, Mike, is transformed into a 17-year-old in the present day.

Zac Efron (High School Musical) and Matthew Perry (Friends) play Mike as teenager and adult. At it's heart this is a romantic comedy (of sorts) which does stray heavily into the realm of cheesy cliches. But, that said, if you're willing to suspend disbelief for the movie's duration then you'll find much to enjoy here.

Once Mike's convinced his nerdy friend from school, Ned - who is now a geeky billionaire, that he's reverted back to his 17-year-old body, the two hatch on a plan to get Mike back into school. Mike isn't really sure what he's supposed to do, but thinks that as he's been given a second chance that he ought to start by going back to school and joining the basketball team.

Of course, what was trendy in the '80s is not so cool with modern kids and Mike soon finds himself a little out of his depth. Then, after Ned throws money at the situation, Mike is soon the coolest kid in the school. But, as this is also the school that Mike's two kids attend, it's not long before he's interfering in their lives - trying to make sure they don't make the same mistakes he did.

There are some wonderful homages to other movie - the most notable being It's a Wonderful Life (in the scene where Matthew Perry's Mike spots his guardian angel on the bridge) and Back to the Future (where Mike's daughter nurses his wounds after he's been knocked out).

Extras include Breakin' Character Outtakes (3 min, 28 sec); Zac's Dance Flashback (2 min, 13 sec which is a behind the scenes look at the deleted '80s dance scene); Theatrical Trailer (2 min, 24 sec); and Additional Footage (16 min, 12 sec of deleted scenes).

While some may find it a little hokey in places, personally I found it to be an enjoyable romp - like a combination of the best aspects of Back to the Future and Big.


Darren Rea

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