PEOPLE: Matthew Perry (aka Chandler from Friends), but then he gets all young and becomes Zac Efron. Melora Hardin (Jan from The Office) as Principal Jane (see what they did? Jan? Jane?). Hunter Parrish (Silus from Weeds; it took a long time to recognize him) as the douchebag bully. Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin, The Cable Guy) as the love interest. Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy The Vampire Slayer). Thomas Lennon (Hancock, Memento, Reno 911, Viva Variety, The State) as the rich geek best friend.
QUIRKS: Contrary to some belief, this is *NOT* a body-swap movie *OR* a time-travel movie. He literally becomes a 17-year-old version of himself in the present day. Which actually makes this a unique gimmick in the “body swap comedy” genre.
There is also some great geekism depicted in the movie, between the rich best friend and the principle. “You can plunder my dungeon any time.” “I’ll bring my longbow.” Then they start talking in what I think was Quenya.
MORALS: This movie deals with regret — having regret for your past decisions, and learning to work through them. It’s actually kind of therapeutic to watch.
I’ve often questioned that if I could travel back to high school and re-inhabit my 10th grade self… Would it be worth having all the work I’ve done between now and then destroyed? Imagine having to re-buy all your albums, and sit through almost 20 years of new movie releases that you’ve already seen. Imagine everything you’ve ever written no longer existed; every picture taken gone; every file processed not processed, every dollar you earned now gone. Would it be worth it? And if so, is the only reason merely that it would extend your perceived life by 20 years? Or is the reason deeper than that?
Part of me thinks I would know every correct decision to make, and would repeat none of my mistakes, while realizing in advance who to make friends with, when to go, when to wait, and when to act. Another part of me couldn’t bear to part with everything that’s already here now. This movie, however, takes the two ideas and smooshes them together. You’re in high school — now, 2009 — and are getting a second chance to do things. The only bad thing is that he didn’t get to stay young forever (is this a spoiler? obviously in every movie where someone’s body changes, they are always reverted by the end!). But that’s what he wanted. The movie gave him a form of personal growth that he couldn’t have experienced otherwise.
CONCLUSION: It’s not quite fair to call this a body swap comedy, since there is only one person involved. But this was both funny and endearing at the same time. They actually made something somewhat inspiring out of the gimmick.
RECOMMENDATION: My recommendation is somewhat neutral — Did you like what you just read? Than see it. Is seeing a High School Musical star star in a high school movie beyond your tolerance? Then don’t see it.
MOVIE QUOTE: Principal Jane Masterson: “Are you peacocking?”
Mood: full of blueberry muffins, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery
Music: Kreator – Brainseed