April 17, 2009, - 7:37 pm

Weekend Box Office 2: “17 Again,” “Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” “Observe & Report”

By Debbie Schlussel
Earlier today you read my review of “State of Play,” a propaganda-laden “thriller,” starring dough-boy Ben Affleck, which was a complete mess. Here are the reviews of most of the other new releases I didn’t get a chance to post reviews for earlier.
* “17 Again“: This movie is all the rage for tweens and teens because it stars their heartthrob, Zac Efron. The plot has been done before in reverse in “Big,” and done similarly in “13 Going on 30,” “Freaky Friday,” and a gazillion other movies.
Overall, though very predictable, it’s a positive movie and good for teens and would be great viewing for Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, and her ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston. In this movie, the pregnant teen and her baby daddy get married and make a life. And in the end, the father becomes a great dad and realizes the important things in life. Plus, there’s plenty of humor in it.


But I was troubled at some of the mature subject matter for a tween-appealing movie. Sex and condoms are discussed at length, and the issue of teen pregnancy is central. Some of the situations are suggestively incestual as a daughter comes on to the boy who is, unbeknownst to her, her father. Characters are shown in bed, coming on to each other, and high school kids call each other “douche” and “bitch” and told that they “have a small weiner.” Not that they don’t say those things in high school. I’m sure they say things far worse. But high schoolers are not the primary audience for this and not Zach Efron’s fan base. They’re far younger.
Matthew Perry plays a failed salesman in his late thirties, who wishes he could live his high school days over again. He blew a chance at a college basketball scholarship and never went to college, so that he could marry his pregnant girlfriend. And he regrets it. They’re in the middle of a divorce, and his kids aren’t close to him.
Soon, he finds himself 17 again and looks like Zach Efron. He discovers that his daughter is dating the school jock/bully and is planning to sleep with him and give up her college opportunity at Georgetown to be with him. His son, who he thinks is on the school basketball team, is actually not on the team but bullied by them and his daughter’s boyfriend. He goes to high school with them to be the parent to them that his kids won’t allow him to be as himself, but are very open to, when it’s in the form of a cool 17-year-old peer. While doing all of this Efron stays at the home of his very wealthy and very geeky computer programmer friend, whose house looks like a museum of outer space kitsch.
Like I said, not a bad movie and it has very positive messages (like waiting to have sex and a loving father who wants to lead his family but isn’t given the chance until he becomes a kid), but not as clean of a movie as I expected for an audience this young.
* “Observe & Report“: This is a low-class, obscene, dark, stupid rip-off of the charming, far superior “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” (read my review). If the F-word is funny to you, then you’ll love this because it’s every other word. And if you like watching extended, unfunny scenes of a fat naked guy running with his penis bobbing up and down, this is your flick. For everyone else, even the tiniest modicum of class and taste should keep you away from this.
Seth Rogen plays a fat, self-important but incompetent mall cop. He’s trying to find out who is stealing from the mall and stopping the mall flasher. The flasher thing and a no-talent cast is the only thing different from “Paul Blart.” When will the undue obsession with this talentless, unattractive hack, Rogen, end? Not soon enough. This movie is complete garbage. Skip it all all cost. Two hours of valuable life wasted I’ll never get back.

* “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh“: The son of a mobster spends a college summer working at a bookstore and having sex with his manager. Soon he falls in love with an attractive blonde (Sienna Miller) and her mob hitman boyfriend (Peter Sarsgard)–who is sent to assassinate him–and sleeps with both of them, literally. Then, the hitman commits suicide. The end. Who the heck greenlights this crap? Disgusting, stupid, pointless, and a complete waste of time. Extremely skipworthy, complete trash.

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3 Responses

Nice “review” on the last one.

Mats on April 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm

What I love about Debbie Schlussel’s Movie Reviews is that she can accurately and succinctly sum up a movie in a paragraph. A rare trait among movie reviewers. Blessed are the brief…

Roads Skolar on April 19, 2009 at 8:47 am

Here’s Seth Rogen joking about being Jewish as a 13 yr. old stand-up comic:

Norman Blitzer on April 19, 2009 at 12:54 pm

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