Sweet 17

Apr. 17 2009, Published 7:20 a.m. ET

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Attention all MILFs, Cougars and gay men: Zac Efron is now officially age-appropriate to be the object of your sexual fantasies. However, it might be a little creepy if you go see his new comedy 17 Again, unless you have a pre-pubescent daughter or niece in tow. See, while the High School Musical star desperately wants to make the leap from teen idol to thespian, this isn’t the vehicle that’ll do it for him.

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Strangely, Zac agreed to do another role that has him playing a high school senior and basketball star — and he even has a cutesy dance sequence at the beginning. But this time, he’s not Troy Bolton, he’s Mike O’Donnell, and after he accidentally knocks up his teenage girlfriend, he flakes on an athletic scholarship. Bad move, dummy! Flash forward 20 years or so and, of course, adult Mike (Matthew Perry) hates his life and resents his wife (Leslie Mann), and his teenage kids (Sterling Knight and Michelle Trachtenberg) think he’s a loser. But magically, he wakes up one morning in his 17-year-old body and gets a do-over.

A lot of people think Leslie Mann only gets work because her husband is Judd Apatow but she’s hilarious and appropriately sexy, instead of pedophilia pervy, in scenes where Zac hits on her. Another fun performance comes from Melora Hardin (The Office), who plays Zac’s new principal.

While 17 Again can’t hold a candle to Big and doesn’t have the charm of 13 Going on 30, it’s still pretty funny. And to be honest, Zac’s also a really good actor. He shows great comedic timing with a smidgen of adult-themed humor and does a nice job pretending to be a young Matthew Perry, who sadly looks kind of worn out for reals, yo.

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Listen, staring at Zac’s beautiful blue eyes is worth the $10.50 and a box of Jujubes alone, but next time, it’d be nice to see him stretch a little more in a non-teenybopper movie. With 17 Again, he’s kind of like that Britney Spears song, “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.” (Well, if it was about a boy.) C’mon, cross over to the dark side Zac! The MILFs, Cougars and gay men are waiting with open arms.

2 ½ Radars out of 5



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