That Zac Efron is pretty damn appealing. Even if you aren't a rabid High School Musical fan, its hard to deny the charm that has made the 21-year-old actor America's most popular and pretty post-teenager, who currently stars in the body-switcheroo number-one-at-the-box-office movie 17 Again.
I'm not exactly sure how Matthew Perry ended up in this flick, as his well-lived, well-drunk and well-pain-pill-popped face doesn't pass for mid-thirties -- no matter that the movie says it's "twenty years later", if you got your girlfriend pregnant at 17 and that child is now a senior in high school, you ain't over 36. Luckily, Perry disappears early on and his wise-cracking and immature self-absorption plays better in Efron's body....and oh, what a body it is. This movie could serve as a love note to every mom who went to see the High School Musical movies with their teens -- Zac's seduction of his own now-age-inappropriate wife (Leslie Mann) is plenty of fodder for every cougar fanfic story bubbling in their hearts, waiting to be posted on the internet.
And I don't blame them, because as unoriginal as it is to say, that boy is smoking. Pictures don't even do his beauty justice, it's watching him walk and talk that sells the package. Part Freaky Friday, part 13 Going on 30, this Frank Capra-esque feel-good family film doesn't hold up under intense scrutiny of the math or the "spirit guide mission" that induces the body swap, but if you keep crunching on popcorn and staring at Efron's crystalline blue eyes and sharply cut biceps, you won't mind a bit.
And for more drool-inspiring fun, check out "Zac's Pool Party" featuring Lance Bass!
-- A. RAYMOND JOHNSON
Previously > Observe and Report better off unobserved and not reported