Guest Editor, Kimberley from Pop Couture
Everyone that knows me personally knows that I am somewhat of a teen movie lover; though, definitely not a teen. I was taken by a good friend, and her 13 year old cousin as a birthday present, because I am a fan of Zac Efron. There I said it, you know it, let’s move on.
I was a bit worried that on opening night, the eve of Good Friday and already a week into school holidays that the cinema would be filled with squealing teenage girls (the reason I avoided High School Musical 3 altogether!) and therefore I wouldn’t enjoy it, but surprisingly the majority of the audience seemed to be girls/women my age! A couple of guys? It was great!
But let’s just say by the end of it, 13-year-old and my friend were quite amused that perhaps my whimpering or giggling in certain scenes was more amusing to them. “Its called whimpering, I wasn’t crying..” was something I had to say as the credits rolled, just to ensure them I wasn’t a complete sap. I really am a sucker for romantic, or even just happy scenes I have to admit!
Yes, this premise has been done before. A middle aged person going back in time, magically, or becoming a teenager again for different reasons. To get together with the girl or guy of their dreams. To make different decisions. Sometimes, its swapping lives with someone else! I won’t say this is remarkably different, but I think this will be one of those movies that is more memorable and is less â€˜childish’ than others such as Freaky Friday. I’m not biased at all.. really. (Although, that was when LiLo was all innocent.)
Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry) is on the verge of a divorce with his childhood sweetheart, who he married once discovering she was pregnant, literally walking off the basketball court when scouts were possibly there to offer him a scholarship. He chose romance over career, and regrets it wondering if his life would have had more success if he’d chosen basketball, and college over a pregnant teenage girlfriend. His two kids ignore him, don’t communicate with him and are the epitome of sullen, or rebellious kids that don’t want to be seen with their Dad in public.
He reminisces going back to the gym, and school hallway where his basketball team photo sits in a glass case proudly, and wishes out loud to a mysterious and all-knowing janitor that he wishes he could go back to those times, they were easier.
Hello, Zac Efron!
Mike wakes up in Zac Efron’s body, at his high school best friend Ned’s house; a Dundgeons & Dragons, or World of Warcraft uber-nerd (I mean.. to the MAX!) who sleeps in a â€˜car-bed’ still, and has all manner of nerd movie figurines, and merchandise around the house. Ned is hilarious and a surprising scene stealer, as generally these characters are just.. a supporting character, but his seduction of the school principal is brilliant.
Zac becomes â€˜Mark’ as Ned’s son and goes back to school thinking that he is there to become the basketball star he was meant to be; then realises that his kids need his help. Alex is teased, bullied by his own sister’s scummy boyfriend Stan, who has yellow-bleached hair reminiscent of Keiefer Sutherland’s hair in The Lost Boys and Maggie thinks that as long as she has romance, she won’t need college, she’ll follow Stan to become manager at Home Depot, and that’ll be that!
The winning elements of the film are how Efron conveys his middle aged and naive view of how teenagers live. You forget that this is the latest IT Disney star, and he conveys the facial expressions of what we saw in Matthew Perry’s character, and the way he is an adult in a teenager’s body is charming. Its also in the way he bonds with his son Alex, and how he creeps out his daughter by just being interested in her (obviously her not realising who he even is!). The way that he meets his â€˜wife’ all over again, and sees her in a different light is really special, and that is why I think this will be the role that Efron will be really noticed, and casting directors will be able to see he has depth, great comic timing, and a real sensibility for certain emotions, well beyond his years.
It’s the feel good movie that I think any audience can relate to, and enjoy without needing to even know who Zac Efron is, having never seen High School Musical and just enjoy it for the â€˜what if I went back to high school and relived life’ – what would it be like questions we sometimes have in our older years. (‘m such a Nanna hehe) The supporting cast is great, including Michelle Trachtenberg as Maggie, Leslie Mann as her mother (Mike’s wife) and Thomas Lennon as Ned is a standout and arguably makes this movie so much more than just the â€˜Zac Efron not doing High School Musical’ movie. Go see it!
Category: Film & TV