VIDEO: The trailer for 17 Again
There's something neat in seeing Zac Efron spout neurotic fatherly advice about abstinence to a classroom of swooning high-school girls — one of whom happens to be his own daughter. Confused? Don't be.
Efron plays Mike O'Donnell at the hunky age of the title after the 40-year-old version (Mathew Perry) has fallen through a time warp. For the most part, the rejuvenated Mike hovers around his kids (Michelle Trachtenberg and Sterling Knight), who are having boy and bully trouble with the same jock jerk (Hunter Parrish).
The borrowed framework (Big, Back to the Future, and even It's a Wonderful Life) lacks spark (and the Efron-to-Perry link is hard to swallow); only when Efron takes center stage, and the film transforms into High School Musical without the music, does a glimmer of magic peek through. Burr Steers, who showed promise with Igby Goes Down, appears to be slumming it for the paycheck.