Director: Burr Steers
Cast: Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Matthew Perry
17 again? Be 17? Again? Who wouldn’t want relive that particular period of hormonal imbalance? Apart from Matthew Perry, of course. Bookending this film with 10 minutes screen time, he’s probably ruing the day he became famous worldwide for playing Chandler Bing. And he’s probably sick of people mentioning it too.
The closest he’ll ever get is playing Michael O’Donnell, a 30-something who wishes he could change his past. Cue one of those spooky janitor types who lurk around schools with a dirty mop. Short story short, he turns into Zac Efron – a young guy who looks nothing like him. And then proceeds to befriend his son, fend off his daughter, and hit on his ex-wife (Mann).
It’s all so generic and derivative (Freaky Friday? Big? 13 Going on 30?) – there’s even the token sci-fi obsessed geeky sidekick. But bits of this are actually quite amusing. Not because of Matthew, you understand (his talent is wasted on a plot function), but because of The Efron. Shouldering the simplistic script with an annoyingly perfect smile, he oozes charisma.
“Respect yourselves,” advises ickle Micky when the cheerleaders chat him up. “You don’t have to remember my name,” replies one. But it’s not just the teens: even his ex-wife can’t resist those eyebrows. “I’m just going over to smell him,” she declares, drooling over his basketball uniform. You can take Zac out of the high school, but… oh wait, you can’t.
Unoriginal but oddly charming, this is perfect children’s fodder. After all, they don’t know any better.