Bottom line: Kids will want to see 17 Again because of stars Zac Efron and Sterling Knight. Be prepared for a lot of sexual discussion and innuendo, thematic material, and scenes with teens drinking, making out, and mercilessly bullying each other.MPAA Rating: PG-13, for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Age range: 16 years +
Runtime: Approx. 102 minutes
17 Again – Summary
Why is it that in 1989 Mike O’Donnell’s (Zac Efron) high school girlfriend decides to tell him she’s pregnant right before he walks onto the court to play the biggest game of his life? We don’t know, but what we do know is that the news changes his life forever. Instead of playing the game, impressing the scout, and getting a college scholarship, Mike sacrifices it all to go after Scarlet and pledge his love to her and their child – and he never lets her forget that fateful day and what he gave up.
Years later, the high school sweethearts have years of marriage behind them and two teenaged kids, Alex (Sterling Knight) and Maggie (Michelle Trachtenberg), but Mike and Scarlet (Leslie Mann) are separated and about to divorce. Mike just doesn’t seem to know what to do, until a guardian angel janitor gives Mike a chance to do it all over again, sort of. Mike suddenly finds that he is 17 again, but he still lives in the present. He goes back to high school thinking he is getting a chance to start over, but instead, he realizes that his children need him more desperately than he could have ever imagined. Being there for his kids becomes Mike’s mission, and in the process he realizes just what he has been missing. His family has given up on him, but maybe there is still a chance. Can he return to his old self in the present and learn to live there instead of in the past?
17 Again – Guide Review
Kids and tweens will definitely be asking to see Zac Efron in his first movie since HSM 3, and the opening scenes look all too familiar – with Zac making baskets getting ready for the big game and joining in a dance number with the cheerleaders, but from this role in 17 Again, it is obvious that Zac has grown up and is moving on. 17 Again is geared toward adults, tackling adult issues and portraying teens in a not so wholesome light.
How weird is it to see Zac punching out a school bully and lecturing the class on abstinence as condoms are being handed out in school (all while the teacher goes on about how ridiculous it is to think that high school students could possibly abstain from sex)? Kids in the movie bully each other, party, and make out. The girls in the movie wear sexy clothing and are extremely forward with the boys (one girl hits on a boy promising, “You don’t even have to remember my name”).
While the movie does convey some positive overall messages about the importance of living in the present, not taking family for granted, and having self-respect, it also shows a lot of behavior that parents would not likely want kids to imitate.
17 Again – Content Overview
- Violence (Medium): Most of the violence in 17 Again centers around school bullying. Bullies do things like duct tape a kid to the toilet, and a couple of all out fights occur. One such classroom fight is recorded on several students’ cell phones, and apparently the footage is passed all around the world. Another fight between two men is supposed to be comical but involves various weapons such as swords and fake light sabers, and one guy kicks the other in the crotch.
- Sex/Nudity (High): Sexual content in the movie includes a considerable amount of discussion and innuendo. High school kids make out and talk about sex, and we learn that one high school girl is pregnant. A boy dumps his girlfriend because she won’t “put out.” Condoms are handed out during class. Girls throw themselves at boys as they talk and act sexy, and one girl goes after a boy trying to kiss and make out with him, saying things like “You want to play games? I can play games.” An adult couple is shown in bed (the woman is scantily clothed), obviously having engaged sexual activity. We see one boy walking through the party nude except for a shield covering his crotch.
- Drugs and Alcohol (Medium): Teens at a party are drinking. Adults are shown drinking beer and wine. In once scene, an obviously drunk woman stumbles around and slurs a little as she talks.
- Language (High): The words “hell,” "ass," "bastard," "b**ch," "d**k" and “butt” are used. Students call each other names like “douche bag,” and students and adults use slang terms for sex and making out. "My God," "sweet baby Jesus," and many variations of those phrases are used.
- Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (Extreme): Teens talk sarcastically and rudely to adults and other kids. Teens bully and belittle each other. A woman chops up her husband's stuff in a wood chipper.
- Scary Scenes (Low): It appears that a man jumps off a bridge in the rain on a dark night, but we see him again later and he is fine.
- Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Medium): The basis of the movie is the difficult relationship Mike has with his children and his impending divorce. All family members struggle with this. The children are rude and bitter toward their father.
17 Again – Topics to Discuss
- After seeing 17 Again, kids may have questions about the following topics: sex before marriage, abstinence, divorce, getting pregnant, condoms, bullying, partying.