A fun reminder that sometimes we need to be thankful for the life God's given us.
17 Again (PG)
Starring Zac Efron and Matthew Perry
This movie should be bad. It has an overused plot (character magically changes age because life would be better if they were young/old), the latest teen heart throb (High School Musical’s Zac Efron), and a need to seriously suspend all kinds of logic to make the plot work. And in the opening scene, it looks like all our fears are going to be realised. Efron is playing basketball with his shirt off, then joins the cheerleaders in a bit of gratuitous dancing. Yay for fan service. But I’m not a pre teen girl, so my eyes are rolling.
Yet somehow, the makers of 17 Again take all of these limitations and make what by all rights should be an awful movie into something fun and enjoyable. Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming either.
Mike O’Donnell (Perry) is a middle aged man who’s life is falling apart. His wife is divorcing him, his kids don’t want to know him, and he just quit his job after not receiving a desired promotion. The only thing he has left is the life long friendship with his uber-nerd pal Ned. Life was so much simpler when he was 17, a basketball hot shot on his way to a college scholarship and his girlfriend wasn’t pregnant. If only he could go back to those days. And of course, through the magic of random, inexplicable stuff happening in movies, he finds himself de-aged to 17. Even better for Matthew Perry, his 17 year old self looks like Zac Efron. Mike goes to high school, joins the basketball team, befriends and helps out his struggling teenage children, and makes a pass at his soon to be ex wife.
Mike’s friend Ned is a highlight for me. He takes the nerdy stereotype and takes it to the next level. Every thing is over the top - the star wars land speeder for his bed, the outrages gifts he gives to the women he’s chasing, his research for Mike’s de-aging. And that’s a great thing. There should be more light saber battles in movies. Especially chick flicks. I would go with my wife to see more girly movies if they only added more explosions and light saber battles…
Mike wanted to live in the past. “Well, of course i wanna live in the past. It was better there…” Things are tough in his life and he wants to go back. It reminded me of the Israelites. God had rescued them from slavery. He had provided for them. He was there for them every step of the way. Yet, when things got tough, what did they do? They complained that they had it better in Egypt. They would rather be in slavery than living as God’s chosen people. That’s a seriously distorted point of view. It’s like a Christian saying that they would rather be back before they knew God because life was more fun back then. Just as Mike realises that his life is better with the love of his wife, so the Christian must always remember that life under God is so much better.