Crank 2 is more my kind of movie, but Zack was in the mood for 17 Again. When the movie opens, it’s 1989 and Mike O’Donnell is a 17-year-old high school basketball star played by Zac Efron, stretching his range after High School Musical. Yes, he’s definitely definitely distancing himself from the role that made him famous: at half-time, when cheerleaders dance to Bust A Move (a song I haven’t heard since…1989), he joins them in an enthusiastic rendition of that ancient dance step, the Running Man.
“Uh. . .do jocks do that?” I asked Zack, but he was already asleep. Later he would blame the ensaymada we ate before the movie. Sugar + Zac Efron = Coma.
Mike O’Donnell’s girlfriend appears at the game and tells him that she’s pregnantâ€”Excellent timing, dearâ€”causing him to abandon the game and his chance at a university basketball scholarship. He marries the girl, and the next time we see him it’s 2009 and he’s Matthew Perry. Mike O’Donnell is unhappy because he used to be Zac Efron and now he’s Matthew Perry and seems to be retaining water. He’s unhappy because the wife for him he abandoned basketball and college has thrown him out of the house and he’s living with his best friend.
Then in one of those plot devices that’s part-It’s A Wonderful Life and part-those 80s movies where teenagers swap bodies with their fathers and part-the one where Jennifer Garner goes from 12 to 30, Mike O’Donnell becomes Zac Efron, 17, again. He goes back to high school and ends up in the same class as his eldest daughter, the actress who was Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s sister.
Wait wait wait. Mike was 17 in 1989 when he knocked up his girlfriend. If their eldest child was born in 1989 or 1990, and it’s 2009 in the movie’s present (They refer to his high school photo being 20 years old), then the daughter should be 19 or 20 years old and already in college. In the movie she’s a high school senior aged 17, 18 at most. Ha! Looks like someone flunked math. (Or the Efron-child just takes longer to gestate, like an elephant.)
There’s a subplot involving Mike’s best friend, a geek who pursues the high school principal in the present-day. They go out to dinner and realize they both love Tolkien. Then they start speaking Elvish to each other, only the subtitles call it ‘Elf’. Booo fake geeks.
At this point Zack woke up with a start and said, “Who’s that? Wasn’t she in the other place? I’m confused.” So we left.