Home > Reviews > 17 AGAIN – Rolfe Kent

17 AGAIN – Rolfe Kent

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A funny vehicle for High School Musical star Zac Efron, 17 Again is a new spin on the old ‘body swap’ comedies of the 1980s like Big, combined with the back-to-school nostalgia of Back to the Future. Matthew Perry stars as Mike O’Donnell stars as a sad-sack thirty-something with a dead end job and a bitter ex-wife (Lesley Mann). After a fateful meeting with mysterious a high school janitor (Brian Doyle-Murray), Mike wishes he could be seventeen again, and do over all the things in his life he screwed up the first time around. Magically, the following morning, he wakes up looking like Zac Efron, and with the help of his perpetually nerdy pal Ned (Thomas Lennon), sets about getting his life back.

It’s a feel-good, genuinely funny teen comedy, directed confidently by Burr Steers, and which features an original score by Rolfe Kent. Truthfully, score doesn’t play a big part on the film, but the music Kent contributes is generally pretty good. It’s a contemporary score, with a medium-sized orchestra augmented by modern-sounding electronica and guitars. Generally Kent is happy to play along from scene-to-scene, staying in the background with standard mickey-mousing, blustery and bombastic caper music (“Stan Beats Up Mark”), and a few contemporary grooves to move the action along (“It’s Not About Basketball”, “Alex Saves the Game”).

One or two of the cues play up the mystical/magical aspect of the story with unexpected beauty, with lush strings and wordless vocals in “Mike Realizes”, chilly mysterioso chords in “Mike Sees the Janitor”, intimate sentimentality in “Mike Cheers Maggie” and “I Lost My Way”, and a satisfying orchestral sweep in the conclusive “Suddenly She Knows”. There is also one unexpectedly lavish action cue in “Mark and Ned Fight”, which is played for laughs on-screen but is quite riveting on CD, and one unexpectedly beautiful – if brief – string elegy in “Sex Ed” which sounds like it should be in another film entirely.

It’s all very inoffensive, and at just a hair under 40 minutes never threatens to outstay its welcome, but it’s never going to win any awards, and will most likely appeal to those who enjoy music on the lighter, fluffier side of the film score scale.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Opening (Game Theme) (0:44)
  • Scarlett (Scarlett Theme) (1:38)
  • Mike Realizes (1:56)
  • The Big Promotion (0:27)
  • Mike Is Wistful (1:21)
  • Mike Sees the Janitor (3:09)
  • Mark and Ned Fight (2:40)
  • Tracking the Janitor/The Trail (1:42)
  • Mark Starts School (1:57)
  • Stan Appears (0:25)
  • It’s Not About Basketball (1:51)
  • Sex Ed (0:52)
  • Stan Beats Up Mark (0:53)
  • Scarlett’s Garden (1:40)
  • Alex Saves the Game (1:58)
  • Mark Cheers Maggie (1:30)
  • Elfish at Dinner (0:40)
  • Punch/Deer and Lioness (1:32)
  • Manchild Kiss (1:32)
  • Race to the Courthouse (1:06)
  • I Lost My Way (3:35)
  • Mark Practices (0:51)
  • Suddenly She Knows (3:05)

Running Time: 37 minutes 04 seconds

Silva Screen SILCD-1294 (2009)

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