No, seriously.

I was home sick from work with a wicked cold for the past few days. (Not to brag about how pathetic I was, but: after staying home Monday, on Tuesday I tried to go to work, and my boss’s reaction upon seeing/hearing me was to insist on driving me home and to pointedly say he would see me on Thursday, maybe. Right?) It’s been a lot of couch time, and when I’m sick, I’m not exactly looking to watch the collected works of Akira Kurosawa (though I recorded some of that off of TCM for later). In this situation, I need some true nonsense movies. The lamer, the better.

View From the Top? Just as horrid as you might imagine, but in my out-of-it state I just tuned out and thought vague thoughts about how adorable Mark Ruffalo is. Diane English’s 2008 remake of The Women? Ah, those silly bitches were great company for two hours! Junior? Arnold, re-visiting that earnest adventure with you after all these years was just a joy.

Anyway, as happens sometimes, one of those films I so hoped would be crap just did not live up to my anti-expectations. Believe me or don’t, but the point of this post is to tell you this: 17 Again, starring Zac Efron, is delightful and you should watch it.

Yes yes, the story has basically been done before. I am here to tell you that you just won’t care. The cast is fantastic (Leslie Mann! Thomas Lennon! Melora Hardin! Jim Gaffigan!), the dialogue is sharp, the characters endear themselves quickly, and their situational reactions feel fresh. That last one is huge: this film’s bullied-in-the-cafeteria scene does not go the way you think it will, nor do half a dozen other such staples. Almost every individual scene managed to both appeal to my desire for teen-movie-comfortable-familiarity and subvert my expectations enough to be genuinely, cleverly funny.

Zac Efron’s comic timing and physical embodiment of the role pull the (very few) loose ends together. Whatever you think of the pretty-boy-Zac image, or of High School Musical (honesty: guilty pleasure for me, the first one at least), the man has a true film career ahead of him.

The next time you’re looking for a fun, funny, easy movie to watch: 17 Again. Do it. Oh! Hidden identity double feature with She’s the Man! Oh my god, have I written about how hilarious She’s the Man is and how much Amanda Bynes kicks ass in it?

My next sleepover is planned.


3 Responses to “No, seriously.”

  1. 1 Chelsea April 2, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I’ll bring my sleeping bag and we can braid each other’s hair! And then maybe prank call some boooooys.

    Is Chace Crawford the poor man’s Zach Efron or is it the other way around?

  2. 2 Aaron April 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Wow, you just found this? I should have recommended it to you a long time ago! I actually saw it in the theater (almost in Paris but it didn’t open till the day after i left). I actually thought Zac Effron seemed like a tool in HSM so I never knew why everyone ewas so gaga over him. But he kept up with Leslie Man and Thomas LEnnon. Its actually hard to beleive that he would grow up to be Matt Perry because the guy cant even compete with Zac.

    Fun for the whole family. I give it two thumbs up!

    Its not as classic a guilty pleasure as Mean Girls or Clueless, but it certainly has seen it fair share of play in my ps3

  3. 3 Brandi Sperry April 6, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Oh my god, Aaron, I know! How did it take me so long to discover this movie? Great guilty pleasure, for sure. I love the idea of you wanting to see it in Paris… :)

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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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