17 Again (film)

17 Again is a 2009 American comedy film directed by Burr Steers. The film follows 37-year-old Mike (Matthew Perry) who becomes his 17-year-old self (Zac Efron) after a chance accident. The film also stars Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, and Michelle Trachtenberg in supporting roles. The film was released in the United States on April 17, 2009.

17 Again
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBurr Steers
Produced byAdam Shankman
Jennifer Gibgot
Written byJason Filardi
StarringZac Efron
Leslie Mann
Thomas Lennon
Michelle Trachtenberg
Matthew Perry
Music byRolfe Kent
CinematographyTim Suhrstedt
Edited byPadraic McKinley
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • April 17, 2009 (2009-04-17)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[1]
Box office$136.3 million[2]


In 1989, 17-year-old star athlete Mike O'Donnell's girlfriend Scarlet Porter tells him that she is pregnant, just moments before his likely scholarship-clinching high school championship basketball game. Mike plays the first few seconds of the game, then walks off the court and goes after Scarlet, abandoning his hopes of going to college and achieving a career that could support their future.

Nearly twenty years later, 37-year-old Mike finds his life stalled, abandoning any project he starts. Scarlet, now his wife and mother of their two children, has filed for divorce, forcing him to move in with his geeky, yet extremely wealthy, best friend, Ned Gold. He has quit his job after he is passed over for a promotion he deserves for his sixteen years at the company in favor of a younger female co-worker with two months experience, and his high school-age children, 17-year-old Maggie and 16-year-old Alex, want nothing to do with him. Later, while driving, an encounter on a bridge with a janitor transforms Mike back into his 17-year-old self.

After convincing Ned of his identity, Ned believes that Mike's transformation was caused by a mystical spirit guide who is trying to steer him on a better path. Mike enrolls in high school posing as Mark Gold, Ned's son, and plans to go to college on a basketball scholarship. As he befriends his bullied son and discovers that his daughter has a boyfriend, Stan, who does not respect her and frequently torments Alex, Mike comes to believe that his mission is to help them.

Through their children, Mike spends time with Scarlet, who notes his remarkable resemblance to her husband, but rationalizes it as an odd coincidence. Deciding to also try and fix his relationship with Scarlet, Mike begins to finish (under the pretense of getting "volunteer credit") all of the garden projects he abandoned as an adult. He does his best to separate Stan and Maggie while also encouraging Alex to be more confident so he can make the basketball team and go out with a girl he has a crush on named Nicole. Mike has difficulty resisting his desire for Scarlet despite the relationship's clear inappropriateness. Ned, meanwhile, begins to pursue the school's principal Jane Masterson through increasingly extravagant stunts in order to win her affections, which she adamantly rebukes.

After Mike and Alex help win a basketball game, Mike throws a party at Ned's house while he is out on a date with Jane. When Scarlet arrives when she worries about her children for attending a party, Mike shows her that Alex has finally managed to get together with his crush, leading Mike and Scarlet to have an intimate conversation where Mike accidentally tries to kiss her. Disgusted, she storms off as Mike tries unsuccessfully to explain his true identity.

On the day of the court hearing to finalize Scarlet and Mike's divorce, Mike makes one last attempt to win her back (as Mark) by reading a supposed letter from Mike. He states that although he couldn't set things right in the beginning of his life, it doesn't change the fact that he still loves her. After he exits, Scarlet notices that the "letter" is actually the directions to the courtroom and she begins to grow curious. As a result, she postpones the divorce by a month. Frustrated that he could not salvage his marriage, Mike decides to once again pursue a scholarship and move on with a new life. During a high school basketball game, Mike reveals himself to Scarlet. As Scarlet runs away, Mike decides to chase her down, just like he did in 1989, but not before handing the ball off to his son. Mike is then transformed back into his 37-year-old self, and happily reunites with Scarlet, saying that she was the best decision he ever made.

As Mike prepares for his first day as the new coach at his children's school, Ned, who has successfully started a relationship with Jane, gifts him a whistle, both happy with their new starts in life.


  • Matthew Perry/Zac Efron as Mike O'Donnell: Perry portrays Mike at age 37, while Efron portrays Mike at age 17 in the opening flashback to 1989 and after Mike has undergone his magical transformation into posing as Mark Gold, son of his future friend Ned
  • Leslie Mann/Allison Miller as Scarlet: Mike's wife and the mother of his children. Mann plays Scarlet as an adult and Miller plays the teenaged Scarlet in the opening scene.
  • Thomas Lennon/Tyler Steelman as Ned Gold: Mike's best friend. Lennon plays the adult Ned, while Steelman portrays Ned in the opening flashback.
  • Michelle Trachtenberg as Maggie: Mike and Scarlet's daughter.
  • Melora Hardin as Principal Jane Masterson: principal of the high school that Maggie, Alex and the rejuvenated Mike attend. She is also Ned's love interest.
  • Sterling Knight as Alex: Mike and Scarlet's son.
  • Hunter Parrish as Stan: Maggie's aggressive boyfriend who bullies Alex.
  • Nicole Sullivan as Naomi: Scarlet's best friend
  • Kat Graham, Tiya Sircar and Melissa Ordway as Jamie, Samantha and Lauren: the three girls who continually try to impress Mike.
  • Brian Doyle-Murray as Janitor: the magical spirit guide who makes the transformation possible.
  • Josie Loren as Nicole: the head cheerleader and Alex's crush.
  • Jim Gaffigan as Coach Murphy: the high school basketball coach who has been there for at least 20 years.
  • Margaret Cho as Mrs. Dell: a teacher


Critical response

The film received mixed or average reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 56%, based on 145 reviews, with an average rating of 5.4/10. The site's consensus reads, "Though it uses a well-worn formula, 17 Again has just enough Zac Efron charm to result in a harmless, pleasurable teen comedy."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[4]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4.[5]

Box office

The film was predicted to take in around $20 million in its opening weekend.[6] Opening in 3,255 theaters in the United States and Canada, the film grossed $23,722,310 ranking #1 at the box office, with 70% of the audience consisting of young females.[7] By the end of its run, 17 Again grossed $64,167,069 in North America and $72,100,407 internationally, totaling $136,267,476 worldwide.[8]


17 Again: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedApril 21, 2009
LabelNew Line Records

17 Again: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on April 21, 2009, by New Line Records.[9]

Track listing

  1. "On My Own" by Vincent Vincent and The Villains
  2. "Can't Say No" by The Helio Sequence
  3. "L.E.S. Artistes" by Santigold
  4. "Naïve" by The Kooks
  5. "This Is Love" by Toby Lightman
  6. "You Really Wake Up the Love in Me" by The Duke Spirit
  7. "The Greatest" by Cat Power
  8. "Rich Girls" by The Virgins
  9. "This Is for Real" by Motion City Soundtrack
  10. "Drop" by Ying Yang Twins
  11. "Cherish" by Kool & The Gang
  12. "Bust a Move" by Young MC
  13. "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins

Additional music credits

The orchestral score was written by Rolfe Kent and orchestrated by Tony Blondal. It was recorded at Skywalker Sound.


  1. "'17 Again' is No. 1 at weekend box office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  2. "17 Again (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  3. 17 Again at Rotten Tomatoes Flixster
  4. "17 Again Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. CBS. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  5. Ebert, Roger (April 15, 2009). "17 Again Movie Review & Film Summary". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  6. Fritz, Ben (2009-04-17). "Zac Efron and '17 Again' expected to rule box office". Los Angeles Times.
  7. McClintock, Pamela (April 19, 2009). "'17 Again' tops weekend box office". Variety. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  8. "17 Again (2009) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com.
  9. "17 Again: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 20 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
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