"Be Careful What You Wish For"
17 AGAIN is a somewhat entertaining, though ultimately disappointing, movie about a middle-aged man who gets a second chance to be a teenager. At first, he sees it as an opportunity to do the things he’s always wanted to do but couldn’t. However, his outlook changes as he realizes that the best things that have happened to him are his wife and children. The redemptive message of familial restoration is sadly spoiled by unnecessary sexual material, foul language, lying, brief nudity, and an occult worldview.
The story begins with Mike O’Donnell (played by Matthew Perry), a dissatisfied, unhappy man whose glory days of being a high school basketball star are behind him. All he can see is that middle age has brought him a failing marriage, children who don’t respect him, and a womanizing boss who passes him over for a promotion. Looking back on his decision to marry his pregnant girlfriend right out of high school, Mike feels that he missed out on the best years of his life, and he allows his discontent to hurt those around him. On the outs with his family, Mike stays at the house of his best friend Ned, a nerdy science fiction, fantasy and comic book fanatic.
Through a series of strange events, a mysterious spirit guide transforms Mike into the 17-year-old version of himself (played by Zac Efron). Believing that this is his chance to re-do the choices he made in his past, he eagerly persuades a friend to act as his father by lying and gets himself plugged into the same high school his children attend. As he interacts with his children and sees his wife from a new perspective as his 17-year-old self, he realizes that the spirit guide must have changed him so he could help his family. Armed with his new mission, Mike sets about doing just that by reconnecting with his children and helping his wife to accomplish her dream of being a landscape artist.
17 AGAIN has good production values with tight editing, a solid plot, and believable acting. It is reminiscent of such movies as FREAKY FRIDAY and GHOST DAD. At times, though, the lines fall flat due to what seems to be a poorly timed delivery by the actors.
Regrettably, 17 AGAIN relies on unnecessary sexual material, foul language and brief nudity, as well as an occult worldview with references to a spirit guide to provide humor and carry the movie to its finish. By doing so, the filmmakers of 17 AGAIN missed their opportunity to expound on their redemptive message of a father’s love for his family and his desire to mend the broken relationships. Please read the content section for more information on the objectionable material.
(OO, BB, C, Ho, LL, V, SS, N, A, MM) Strong occult worldview with characters believing that a spirit guide is responsible for the main character’s transformation and a couple references to boy possibly being a vampire or a cyborg without his knowledge, with, however, some strong moral elements with redemptive aspects where protagonist tries to make amends with his children and his wife, and a homosexual reference; 14 obscenities and six profanities; man falls into a swirling whirlpool, boy fights against man using various pieces of weaponry such as an ax, a sword, and light sabers, man falls off of balcony, boy knocks man’s legs out from under him with light saber, man kicks boy in the lower region, man drops picture frame on boy’s head, boy tackles other boy in classroom and fistfight ensues, boy punches other boy at party, boy gets slapped by four different women, man slaps boy four times; strong accumulative sexual references includes implied fornication, references to adultery, cheerleaders perform sexy dances at basketball games, boy joins the cheerleaders’ dance and rips his pants off at the end but he has basketball shorts on, boy passionately kisses girlfriend, boss of main character is a womanizer, woman compliments another woman on her backside and asks “when was the last time you waxed,” two sexual references to man’s private region, sexual references such as “I think our hands just made a baby,” man asks to smell woman’s hair, girl says if a boy were an apple he’d be delicious, intoxicated woman tries to smell teenage boy, woman says her friend needs to get a man to go home with her after a date, multiple shots of girl making out with her boyfriend, teacher facilitates classroom discussion on human sexuality and passes out condoms, man uses a seduction technique called “peacocking” to hit on woman, woman makes reference to “cougar-hunting,” boy continually lusts after older woman who is actually his wife but since he is in his 17-year-old body it makes the scenes awkward, teenage boy kisses older woman, boy puts hand on older woman’s backside during dance, girls hit on boy and tell him not to respect them and that they are too flexible, girl hits on boy by trying to kiss him and chases him around a bedroom acting like an animal because she thinks they are role playing, boy tries to coerce girl into having sexual relations with him but she says no, man and woman make references to potential sex on their date, woman says “you can plunder my dungeon anytime” and man responds in kind, girl thinks that boy is gay because he turns down her advances, implied fornication; upper male nudity, cheerleaders show midriffs, female cleavage, teenage girls wear bikinis at party, side rear view of fully naked teenage boy private parts are strategically covered by object; woman comes home drunk from happy hour, boy is drunk at party, teenagers have a party where it is implied that drinking may be going on; and, negative parental role model in beginning but he straightens out at the end, teen partying, boy gets girlfriend pregnant but takes responsibility for his actions and asks her to marry him, teenage kids are disrespectful toward their father, lying, stealing, bullying by teenagers at school, boy says that making love is something two people should preferably do when they are married, and teacher says that although it’s preferred that the students remain abstinent, the school’s official position is to prepare students for safe sex now.
17 AGAIN is the story of Mike O’Donnell, a dissatisfied, unhappy middle-aged man who mysteriously gets transformed into the 17-year-old version of himself. Believing this is his chance to re-do the choices he made in his past, he gets plugged into the same high school his children attend. As he interacts with them, Mike begins to see his family from a different perspective. He realizes a spirit guide must have sent him to help his family. Armed with his new mission, Mike sets about reconnecting with his family and trying to make amends for his failures as a husband and a father.
17 AGAIN has good production values with tight editing, a solid plot, and believable acting. It is reminiscent of such movies as FREAKY FRIDAY and GHOST DAD. At times, though, the lines fall flat due to poorly timed deliveries. Regrettably, 17 AGAIN relies on gratuitous sexual material, foul language, and an occult worldview, with references to a spirit guide. By doing so, the filmmakers of 17 AGAIN missed their opportunity to expound on their redemptive message of a father’s love for his family and his desire to mend broken relationships.