“17 Again,” the pre-teen sci-fi fantasy comedy about a 1970s high school basketball star turned Chandler Bing, is a complex narrative spiderweb that takes a fresh approach on time-tested thematic ideas, such as the unfulfillment of the self, the role of the father in contemporary society, and Zac Efron sweaty and shirtless.
Let me start with (and solely discuss) the latter point. Not even five minutes into the movie, we see Zac Efron sweaty and shirtless. His perfect frame, petite yet strong, muscular but not bulky, embodies awesomeness. It is the kind of body you could eat sushi off of and not care that you are objectifying another human being. His features are so perfectly that of a teen heartthrob, one must ask if he was manufactured in some sort of TigerBeat laboratory, genetically manipulated to have an endless gaze, angular cheeks and luscious, kissable lips. Taken in holistically and you have a barely legal piece of ass that just won’t quit.
In the movie, Zac (whose character probably has a name but who’s counting) has grown up and turned into a fat, bloated turd of a man (played by man-turd Matthew-what’s-his-face from Friends). Then one of Bill Murray’s brothers (or maybe his father) transforms the present-day failure and shell of a man into Zac Efron. Zac then goes back to his old high school for some reason and re-enrolls. Although he was super popular 20 years ago and even his basketball coach is the same, no one remembers him. This part of the movie was highly implausible. No one would forget Zac Efron. Those abs. That well-defined chest. That tight little ass. Nope. A man-boy like that is Velcro-ed to the brain for life, like a tumor, a tumor filled with smooth skin and shiny hair that always hangs oh so right.
When Zac re-enrolls in school, all the students make fun of him. The movie never explains why, so it is up to the viewer to assume that his colleagues are bitterly jealous of his God-given beauty. I mean, you can almost smell his sweet, sweet scent just by looking at his image, like when you see a commercial for cookies and then smell cookies because you are stoned and are already eating cookies.
Like a blood clot, Zac slowly starts inching his way into people’s hearts. And although it’s still the middle of the movie as I write this, I assume everyone learns to accept and love him before he turns back into the ugly pumpkin that he actually is.
So in conclusion, I want to do Zac Efron so bad. So so so so so bad. Oh, God. Who do I have to blow to blow Zac Efron? Just tell me. I’m already on my knees.
Also, Thomas Lennon of Reno 911 fame plays Zach’s best friend, which is pretty cool too. (Note: Regrettably his highlights are extraordinarily distracting. Jeers!)