17 Again Movie Poster Image

17 Again

So-so comedy will amuse young Efron fans more than parents.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters learn lessons about appreciating family and making smart decisions. But to get there, they navigate some tricky situations (for instance, a high school senior gets his girlfriend pregnant and gives up college to marry her and find a job, leaving him frustrated and resentful).

Positive role models

Some students clearly relish bullying others; some girls practically throw themselves at guys (one says a guy doesn't even have to remember her name as long as he sleeps with her), and vice versa. A teen boy binges on junk food.


One scene features intense slapping. In another, a grown-up swings a hatchet and light saber against a teen, but the scene is played cartoonishly. Some bullying and brief fistfights.


More references than actual sex/action. A teen girl makes out with her boyfriend frequently. In one scene, a teen girl tries to seduce a guy with animal role-play. Conversations sometimes include sexual innuendoes; one guy hoards condoms because he says he has "needs." Discussion of abstinence and why it works (or not) for teens. A teen boy kisses a woman old enough to be his mother. A teenage girl gets pregnant, and her high school boyfriend offers to marry her. Girls throw themselves at a guy, essentially offering sex. Adult couple show in bed together. A boy wearing nothing but a shield (nudity implied) walks out of a party.


Fairly mild; some use of "ass," "bitch," "dick," "whore," "oh my God," and the like. One "s--t" in a song.


Products featured in the movie include Captain Crunch, Pringles, Nutella, and Old Milwaukee Beer. Much is made of a character's American Express Black Card.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One scene shows teens drinking (some of them drunk) at a party.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that they may want to think twice before letting young tween High School Musical fans see this PG-13 rated comedy, which is edgier than most of star Zac Efron's previous work. There's a scene of teens drinking at a party and a fair number of sexual references. It's generally more talk than action, but there's some making out, a teen girl gets pregnant, and one character hoards condoms. But curse words are few and fairly mild ("ass" and "bitch") and violence is at a minimum (of the two "fight" scenes, one is cartoonish, the other lukewarm). Parents may appreciate the fact that Efron's character implores his fellow teens to make so-called "smart" decisions about sexual activity and college.

What's the story?

Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) is at a crossroads: Facing 40 and an impending divorce from the high school sweetheart (Leslie Mann) he married when they found out she was pregnant, he longs for another try at greatness. A mysterious janitor grants his wish, magically returning him to his 17-year-old self (though not sending him back in time) -- a teenager whose future seems bright with the promise of popularity, possibility, and a basketball scholarship. But, as Mike discovers, the past has a way of looming large, clouding the present and ruining the future. Is it too late to undo the damage?

Is it any good?


Face it: We've seen this movie before. The storyline's so familiar (Big, anyone?) that it's practically its own genre -- though fine acting from the cast, especially Efron, does help 17 AGAIN rise a bit above the predictability. As the young Mike, Efron is indisputably watchable, emitting charisma from every pore. He's game, too, giving himself over to scenes that could have played tepidly and awkwardly -- Mike the teenager fending off the advances of his own daughter, who's not aware he's her dad, for example -- but generally don't. (Runner-up awards go to Mann and Thomas Lennon as older Mike's proudly nerdy friend Ned Gold.)

But good acting doesn't automatically make for a good movie, and, as directed by Burr Steers (who's helmed such deliciously subversive titles as Weeds, Big Love, and Igby Goes Down), 17 Again lacks edge. Yes, there are jokes about cougars and Lord of the Rings fanatics, but that's small potatoes. And though it's good to see Perry on the big screen again, he's woefully underused. Anyone over 12 or 13 is also likely to roll their eyes at the movie's High School Musical references (the opening, which includes glimpses of a sweat-drenched Efron shooting hoops, practically threatens a song-and-dance number). It's clearly a play for the HSM audience, but it ends up feeling like a cheap -- and unnecessary -- shot. Bottom line? Manage your expectations, and it may end up being worth the popcorn, especially for your teens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what this movie teaches teens about the importance of their behavior and decisions, particularly when it comes to things like sex. Are those messages clear amid the comedy? Is it easier to hear those messages from Zac Efron than from parents?

  • Families can also talk about the ongoing popularity of movies about adults revisiting their younger years. Why is that kind of story so appealing?

  • How does this movie compare to others in that genre?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 17, 2009
DVD/Streaming release date:August 11, 2009
Cast:Leslie Mann, Matthew Perry, Zac Efron
Director:Burr Steers
Studio:New Line
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, some sexual material and teen partying.

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Parent of a 8 and 12 year old Written bypurljam7777 August 20, 2009

If your child is emotionally mature...see it...it's a hilarious movie!!

I, as a 43 year old, have to say that I absolutely loved this movie.....who knew that a movie starring Zac Efron could make me laugh so hard that I had to wipe tears from my eyes?! While I understand some of the parents' input here, I am completely offended by some comments basically stating that "I didn't let my son/daughter see this movie, because I love them"--that is so far overboard, it's ridiculous! My 12 year old daughter watched the movie with me, and while she is, and always has been mature for her age, I do have to say that there were a couple of times where I paused the movie because she had immediate questions. I was happy to explain them. Once the movie was over, I did make a point to take 10 minutes to discuss some positive points the movie brought up (ie, teenage sex leading to pregnancy and appreciation for parents). We also discussed alcohol/drug use, peer pressure, etc. I believe the bottom line is....if you think your child (whether they are 10 or 15) is emotionally mature and responsible to see this...then see it! It was seriously hilarious! However...DO take the time to either discuss things during the movie or afterwards.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Adult Written byshannonbrown May 9, 2009

Great movie but not for kids 11 and under

Teen Pregnency but otherwise a great movie!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Kid, 9 years old August 8, 2009

Cool movie

AWESOME! But innapropriate; guy dates his own daughter in his 17-year-old form.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing