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17 AGAIN

Generation Gap
In "17 Again,” we first see Efron as 17-year-old high school senior Mike O'Donnell, who is living a charmed life in 1989. Handsome, popular and the hero of his high school basketball team, Mike is about to take the court for the big game, the game that will make or break his future. But at that moment, his girlfriend, Scarlet, breaks the news that she is pregnant and Mike makes a pivotal decision: he gives up the game, and a sure college scholarship, choosing to be with Scarlet. Almost 20 years later, Mike's once-bright future has been overshadowed by a dead-end job, a failing marriage and two teenage kids he barely knows. And now he can't help but wonder What if…?

"At the beginning,” says Efron, "there were so many doors open to him, but he gave up all those opportunities. It all came down to that one day for him; if he could go back and play in that game, he could keep his future open. I mean, what if you made one decision that made the rest of your life dull and monotonous? Of course you'd want to go back and change it.”

Matthew Perry, who stars as the adult Mike O'Donnell, comments, "Everybody makes choices they regret in life, but if you're constantly looking back and I thinking, ‘I wish I'd done this or that,' you're always going to be miserable. Mike is unhappy with the way his life turned out and is at the end of his rope. He needs to learn to be a little more grateful for what he has—a great wife and terrific kids—and realize that maybe he is the problem. When I read the script, I liked the character even though he's so bummed out. I could sympathize with him.”

Gibgot offers, "One of the things Matthew does so brilliantly is play the lovable, put-upon guy. That's what we wanted: somebody who obviously felt all the pain and disappointment but who wasn't too heavy-handed about it, someone who you could laugh with and be rooting for. Matthew balances that better than anyone else.”

"Matthew has an instant likeability factor,” adds Steers. "That was key to the audience caring about this guy because, initially, Mike is just wallowing in self-pity.”

As it turns out, Mike O'Donnell is still living a charmed life. After a seemingly chance encounter with a mysterious old man (Brian Doyle Murray), who somehow seems to know exactly how he is feeling, Mike is given a miraculous gift. The next time he looks in the mirror, he discovers he has been magically transformed back to the age of 17—at least outwardly. Inwardly, he is still 37 and remembers exactly who, where, and how old he truly is. Incredulity soon gives way to joy and renewed optimism as Mike realizes he has been given a second shot at the life he thought he threw away.

Although they have no actual scenes together in the film, Zac Efron and Matthew Perry enjoyed a different kind of collaboration "because we were essentially playing the same part,” explains Perry. "So a lot of the rehearsal process was me reading some of his lines and him reading some of my lines and listening to the way we said certain things. He was also eager to emulate some of my mannerisms, like he noticed I have a tendency to put my hands in my pockets. So he was always watching and observing, but at the same time he was very good at making the role his own.”

Efron, who takes over the part after Mike's reversal to age 17, states, "It was a blast to split the role with Matt. He has an incredible sense of comedic timing with a kind of dryness in his delivery. He's so naturally funny. Every once in a while, at odd hours of the morning, he would get a phone call from me saying, ‘Hey Matt…so I have this line and I'm not really feeling it. How would you do it?' And he'd just pop out a few sarcastic jokes. He's just brilliant at it. He also has a very distinctive smile—I guess I'd call it more of a smirk—and there were other lit

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