Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sweet Mercy - Movie Review - 17 Again

OMG, can I, like, just tell you how glad I am that I am NOT 17 again? LOL, WTF!

Yes, I know, there was definitely some 80’s valley girl mixed in with the text savvy new millennium teenager in that last sentence. It was done on purpose, I swear it.

But the sentiment, the sentiment is certainly there, regardless of what decade the language comes from.

After watching “17 Again”, the new Matthew Perry/Zac Effron movie, in a room full of teenagers, all I can tell you is I walked out thinking “Thank you God for allowing me to survive my teen years and make it happily to my mid-thirties. I don’t ever want to go back”.

My friend Chick Flick and I have decided to make Tuesdays our “movie night”. Our local theatre offers $6 Tuesdays, and since both of us tend to have pretty hectic weekend schedules, our “school night movie night” was born. We’ve been going pretty regularly for the last 3 months or so, and we’ve found that it works beautifully. The theatre is not crowded, the price is right, and with both of us being movie lovers, we get to go to the movies without the annoying side effects theatre going usually means.

Except last week, when unbeknownst to both of us, because neither of us have any kids, we decided on “17 Again” and arrived at the theatre to discover it was school vacation week. The theatre was packed. With teenagers. And we? Were planning to watch a teenybopper flick. Because, whether or not we happen to be in our 30’s, we just love teenybopper flicks.

It was touch and go for a moment, and we almost vetoed the movies altogether, but at the last minute we decided to suck it up, and go watch the movie with the teens.

The experience wasn’t as horrible as we had initially feared. The movie was packed, but for the most part, the kids were well behaved. And, truth be told, watching this particular movie in a room full of teenagers really did add a certain level of…realism to an otherwise ridiculous movie premise.

I should take this time to tell you that I am not one of those people who thinks all teenagers are horrible, in fact, I work very closely with a large group of teens and I think that for the most part, teenagers today are amazing, wonderful and far exceed most adults’ expectations of them. That being said, there are certain times I would really rather not be surrounded by them, and a movie theatre is one of those times. Truth be told, I don’t much like being surrounded by full grown adults at the movies either. People can be especially obnoxious in a dark movie theatre, so the emptier a movie room is, the happier I am.

But, back to the movie, because, this was, after all supposed to be a review, wasn’t it?

Right…so, 17 Again, if you don’t already know, is basically your typical “waking up in another body” story. (for more information about the movie, click on the picture above to be taken to the Yahoo Movie Page) Much along the lines of “Big” or “13 Going on 30”, where a young character wakes up in the body of their adult self, 17 Again takes the formula and reverses it. Matthew Perry is a disenchanted, disgruntled adult, who was his high school’s star basketball player, but somewhere along the way traded in his basketball dream for family life, and has never made peace with that decision.

Through a chance meeting he magically wakes up in the body of his former 17 year old self Zac Effron, and hilarity ensues.

The formula is well known, and has been time and time again. The plot is predictable, and not all that unique or original. But the writing was good, the jokes were indeed funny, and the actors made the characters likeable (or dislikable as the case may have been) enough to make this movie worth watching.

The main story line of Mike O'Donnel (Perry/Effron) trying to do right by his family, even while in his 17 year old body is a nice sweet twist on the story we’ve come to know so well. And I got a kick out of slightly twisted story line where his soon to be former wife finds herself inexplicably attracted to this 17 year old kid, lending itself to quite a few laughs for the audience.

My favorite character by far, though, was Ned, Mike's best friend played by Thomas Lennon of Reno 911 fame. He was absolutely hilarious, and for me, the real star of the movie. Without his comic relief, I’m not sure the movie would have been nearly as enjoyable.

That being said, I can’t possibly do a review of this movie without mentioning the adorable Zac Effron. From the moment he walked out on the screen a collective “swoon” was heard in the audience. All the little teen girls (and some not so teen women, yours truly EXCLUDED) let out audible sighs. Probably the funniest bit for me in the entire movie was when the teen girl behind me shouted “He’s so hot”.

To be honest, Zac Effron is most definitely not “my type”, and even if he was older than a mere 21, he’d still not be my type. But, I will hand it to the kid, he is absolutely adorable and likeable. He is also, I must admit, a great comedic actor. I thought he did an excellent job delivering the one liners, and tripping over himself with the physical comedy aspect of the film. This kids’ got a bright future in the business, no doubt.

As for the idea of being 17 again and getting to do-over my adolescence? That part made this movie almost a horror flick for me. As if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough when I went through it, I can’t imagine doing it again in the age of YouTube and MySpace. So Not Interested. As I heard the teens in the room laugh at some of the jokes, all I could think was how terrible it must be to be an unpopular kid now a days. It wasn’t easy when I was there (trust me, I know), but it has to be so much harder now.
It was a sweet, sweet feeling to know I could walk out of that theatre and be in my 30’s, having left the teeny boppers on the curb waiting for their parents to come pick them up.

Overall, this wasn’t a “masterpiece” of a film, but then, nobody is expecting it to be. It was what it set out to be, which was an entertaining, funny, enjoyable flick.
For the entertainment value alone, I give it 3 ¾ Martini glasses.


Pamela said...

he's not my type either. he still has teeth Ohhh just kidding.
He's a cute little boy, i guess.

I will probably have to see that movie on dvd. You are right about the crowds in theaters.

Karina said...

Pamela, you crack me up!