Who's In It: Zac Efron, Matthew Perry, Thomas Lennon, Leslie Mann, Michelle Trachtenberg, Melora Hardin
The Basics: Matthew Perry is a bitter 37-year-old who wishes he hadn't knocked up his high school sweetheart, married her and had two children. She's bitter that he's bitter so she kicks him out of the house. Suddenly he meets a bearded old school janitor that he winds up saving, It's a Wonderful Life-style, by jumping into a river. BAM, he's 17 again but with the mind of the 37-year-old he knows he really is. And what that means is that it's time for some cougar hunting.What's The Deal: This film has the same identity crisis as its main character. It begins EXACTLY like all the High School Musical movies, on a basketball court, with Zac as the star player (so it's ostensibly set in a similar universe where someone like Zac Efron could even be a star basketball player). Then, no lie, he does a choreographed dance number with the cheerleaders. And just when you think he's about to start singing, it all turns sour and he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant, which is a subject no one bothered to write a Radio Disney hit about for those other three films. So the rest of the movie is torn in half about how to sell Zac. Is he a bitter man nearing middle age? Is he a vaguely androgynous object of desire for 11-year-old girls? Neither question finds satisfactory resolution.
Best Thing About It: Thomas Lennon from Reno 911! as Matthew Perry's high school buddy, a former super-nerd who grew up to develop software, get rich and live in a Star Wars memorabilia-filled home. Pretending to be Kid-Zac's father, his own efforts to seduce school principal Melora Hardin are kind of funny.
Worst Thing About It: Those minor-chuckle-inducing seduction scenes are the only thing that's kind of funny.
Script Issues For Annoying People Obsessed With Details And Adding And Stuff Making Sense: One of the main plots here is that Dad-Zac has to emotionally reconnect with his soon-to-be-ex wife and his estranged teenage children, both of whom he's now wandering the halls with at high school. And here's a word-for-word conversation I had with the person I took as my plus-one to this screening...
My Plus-One: "Wait, if he's gone back in time to being 20 years younger, and he's now 17, then why isn't his oldest kid 20 already and out of high school by now?"
My Plus-One: "I'm right about this. The kid played by Michelle Trachtenberg should already be nearing her college graduation."
My Plus-One: "Don't you get it?"
Me: "STOP THINKING!!"