Seventeen Again

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
Seventeen Again Movie Poster Image
Dated tale has tired plot, some graphic sex talk.
  • NR
  • 2002
  • 97 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

You're only a loser if you give up. Don't be afraid to try new things.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The popular girls thrive on mean-girl behavior. Sydney stands up to the bully -- albeit in a less than ideal way -- by punching her in the face. But Cat and Gene realize they both need to learn to trust each other, and Sydney realizes she'll never be happy if she doesn't try new things and take chances.

Violence

Gene pushes another kid. Sydney punches a bully in the face. Talk about the possibility of the anti-aging formula killing Cat and Gene if they don't discover an antidote in time.

Sex

Lots of talk about finding "hotties" and adult relationships. One character constantly hits on Sydney with gross lines such as "What's up baby, you miss daddy?" In a sex-ed class, a teacher illustrates how to properly put on a condom on her finger and explains you need to "place it over the head of a fully erect, turgid penis."

Language

Insults such as "loser" and "fool." Taco Bell is referred to as "Taco Hell."

Consumerism

References to Domino's and Taco "Hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

High school students get beverages at a club, and it's unclear whether they're alcoholic or not.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Seventeen Again (not to be confused with Zac Efron's 17 Again) is a 2000 Showtime original movie starring Sister, Sister leads Tia and Tamera Mowry. Parents of tweens and young teens might be concerned about some sexual content in this movie (even if kids have trouble understanding the really dated '90s slang) and conversations about adult relationships, including divorce. There's lots of talk about nabbing "hotties," tips on how to be a "mack daddy lover," a few kisses, and one weirdly explicit scene where a teacher explains how to properly put on a condom to high school students. There's also some mean-girl behavior from a high school bully and one punch to the face.

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What's the story?

Cat and Gene, a bitterly divorced couple, are stuck watching their grandkids Sydney (Tia Mowry) and Willie (Tahj Mowry) while their parents go out of town for a few days. Their biggest challenge seems to be getting along, until budding scientist Willie accidentally exposes them to his latest formula, an anti-aging serum that turns these senior citizens back into 17-year-olds. While Willie frantically tries to create an antidote, Sydney tries to keep her feisty grandmother -- who now looks exactly like Sydney -- from stealing her crush. And the now-young Cat (Tamera Mowry) is trying hard to keep her eyes on Gene (Mark Taylor), who seems determined to become the most popular boy in high school. Will they find the antidote in time, before it causes serious damage to both their health and Sydney's high school reputation? And will Cat and Gene learn anything from this trip to their pasts?

Is it any good?

We really didn't need another movie about adults becoming teenagers again; it's a tired plot, and Seventeen Again doesn't add much of value to the genre. Although having the adults be grandparents, rather than only parents, adds a slightly new twist, it's still just as creepy when the grandparents flirt with high school kids as it would be if they were merely parents. Big or 30 Going on 30 are definitely more creative spins on the theme and far more enjoyable.

But the hardest part to get through in Seventeen Again is the cringe-worthy '90s slang, which is laid on thick and feels extremely dated. Tweens may have trouble even understanding what the characters are saying, and their parents will probably blush that they said things like "talk to the hand." Stick with a gem like Clueless if you're looking for a film with '90s flair.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of movies about adults reliving their teen years. Why do you think this is such a common movie theme?

  • What lessons did Gene and Cat learn from being 17 again for a few days? Would they have learned these lessons if they didn't become teenagers again?

  • What's your favorite movie about reliving the teenage years?

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

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