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Matthew Perry in 17 Again.
The loss of actor Matthew Perry was a staggering blow to just about every single one of us. Perry is one of those actors who, at any given moment, could magically become part of our lives, especially if we happen to stumble on a rerun of his mega-hit show Friends. Throughout his career, Perry used that fame to do all sorts of good and everyone has their own memories of his work. Our favorite, in fact, just so happened to be his final movie ever: a mostly forgotten comedic fantasy released in 2009 called 17 Again.
In 17 Again, Perry is Mike O’Donnell, an unhappy 37-year-old man with a wife, two kids, and all the regret in the world. He gets a chance to change that though when he’s transformed (by a mysterious janitor) into his 17-year-old self (now played by Zac Efron). Young Mike first tries to right the wrongs of his life, only to eventually realize he’s got everything he needs. It’s a little cheesy, even more predictable, and not particularly groundbreaking, as it blends ideas we’ve seen in better movies such as Big, Back to the Future, and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Plus, thinking about the film now almost 15 years since its release, there’s also the added knowledge 17 Again was made during an era when Perry was dealing with serious addiction. You can’t help but think he maybe used some of that pain, that fear, that regret to bring Mike to life. Even if it was in a mostly silly comedy starring a teen heartthrob.
So if you’re looking for something to watch to celebrate Perry’s life, to maybe laugh, and maybe cry, we strongly endorse 17 Again. Come for Perry’s strong, stabilizing performance. Stay for goofy, creepy, high school antics.
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