Efron is, to put it mildly, the least of the movie’s problems. Nuance may not be his strong suit, and he never gives himself over to the part physically, the way Jamie Lee Curtis did as the girl-woman of Freaky Friday, but he plays most of the big moments well enough (verbally cutting down a bully in the cafeteria, preaching abstinence in a sex-ed class) and seems altogether more at ease than he does doing 1930s dress-up in Richard Linklater’s forthcoming Me and Orson Welles. But if this is one small step for the actor toward becoming a leading man, it is, for Hollywood movies, one more giant leap into infantilism.

17 Again was directed by Burr Steers; written by Jason Filardi; and stars Zac Efron, Matthew Perry, Leslie Mann and Thomas Lennon. Countywide.

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