Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: 17 Again Is Sweet And Poignant

Plus, State of Play Is Certified Fresh, and guess Crank High Voltage's Tomatometer!

by | April 16, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a high school do-over (17 Again, starring Zac Efron and Leslie Mann), some journalistic thrills (State of Play, starring Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams), and cardiovascular action (Crank High Voltage, starring Jason Statham and Bai Ling). What do the critics have to say?


17 Again

If you’ve seen Big, Back to the Future, and Peggy Sue Got Married, you’ll have a pretty good idea what’s in store with 17 Again. The good news? The critics say the film may be derivative, but it’s also clever, entertaining, and poignant, largely thanks to an impressive post-High School Musical turn from Zac Efron. He stars as Mike O’Donnell, a big man on campus circa 1989 who, 20 years later, finds his life and his marriage to high school sweetie Scarlett (Leslie Mann) on the rocks. He gets a second chance to correct his mistakes when he’s magically transformed into his 17-year-old self — albeit with his late-30s personality intact — and discovers a thing or two about life. While some critics find the film’s premise a bit unseemly (a 30-year-old bro-ing down with minors?), most say 17 Again is mostly sweet, funny, and perceptive, and that Efron has a bright future as a leading man.


State of Play

The newspaper industry is in bad shape these days, so it almost seems quaint to release a thriller about a principled investigative journalist in the midst of a vast conspiracy. But here’s a news flash: critics say State of Play is engrossing, smart, unnerving, and surprisingly timely, a tribute to the hardworking reporters that shed light on our political system. Russell Crowe stars as old-school Washington beat reporter Cal McAffrey, who’s had a solid professional rapport with up-and-coming congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) — that is, until some of Collins’ associates turn up dead. McAffrey uneasily joins forces with Della (Rachel McAdams), a blogger at the paper, to untangle a sinister web of secrets and lies. The pundits say State of Play may offer a few too many twists and turns, but its ensemble, which also includes Helen Mirren as McAffrey’s exacting editor, is unimpeachable, as is the immediacy and authenticity of the newsroom setting. State of Play is Certified Fresh.


Crank High Voltage

It appears the folks behind Crank High Voltage were concerned it would make critics, ahem, cranky, because it wasn’t screened prior to release (strange, since its predecessor notched a perfectly respectable 60 percent on the Tomatometer). Jason Statham once again stars as Chev Chelios (apparently no relation to the Red Wings defenseman) whose heart is removed; he must do everything in his power to keep his battery-powered ticker going while finding his missing organ. Kids, guess that Tomatometer! (And don’t forget to check out Crank star Bai Ling’s Five Favorite Films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Oblivion, a doc about the turbulent recent history of Peru as seen through the eyes of assorted Lima residents, is at 90 percent on the Tomatometer.
  • Lemmon Tree, about a conflict over a lemon grove on the Israeli/Palestinian border in the West Bank, is at 85 percent.
  • Every Little Step, a documentary about the early days, and revival, of A Chorus Line, is at 83 percent.
  • American Violet, a drama about a single mother who must battle accusations of drug dealing, is at 78 percent.
  • Is Anybody There?, which stars Michael Caine in the tale of a boy who meets a free-spirited occupant of his parents’ old folks home, is at 50 percent..
  • The Golden Boys, starring David Carradine and Mariel Hemingway in a comedy about three retired sea captains who could use a woman’s touch in their drab Cape Cod house, is at 40 percent.
  • The Sleep Dealer, an indie sci-fi drama about exploited third-world workers in a futuristic dystopia, is at 38 percent.

Tag Cloud

Britbox Nickelodeon Pixar Sony Pictures El Rey dramedy 21st Century Fox cats Mystery Disney Channel Shudder A&E Music MTV IFC Films Pirates BET OWN DC Universe History 20th Century Fox American Society of Cinematographers New York Comic Con GLAAD Grammys Masterpiece 2019 composers Mindy Kaling anime ITV 2016 PaleyFest medical drama Hulu Musical YouTube Premium serial killer Comic Book crossover 24 frames Star Trek RT History supernatural Thanksgiving Tomatazos comiccon Schedule binge Western Emmys period drama adventure spider-man docudrama PBS Superheroes X-Men See It Skip It President Song of Ice and Fire Sneak Peek Ghostbusters CNN Rocky Super Bowl Video Games Marvel LGBTQ SXSW Star Wars Photos Year in Review Oscars discovery Trivia Creative Arts Emmys Tumblr Sci-Fi unscripted dc Awards Martial Arts what to watch spy thriller Trophy Talk Columbia Pictures war Nat Geo ESPN Lucasfilm Syfy Podcast zombies 2018 APB robots The CW Holidays ABC cults Epix Musicals Marathons political drama Fantasy festivals thriller Red Carpet TV Land sitcom social media Warner Bros. Interview Lionsgate E3 police drama Election SDCC Shondaland BBC America Drama SundanceTV 007 crime Ellie Kemper Premiere Dates Extras Dark Horse Comics talk show Comedy romance based on movie Comics on TV Bravo Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Mary Poppins Returns National Geographic DC streaming service historical drama Certified Fresh CMT Horror Food Network Disney Winners biography psycho Writers Guild of America USA Network doctor who Biopics HBO television technology TNT 2017 blaxploitation green book Kids & Family vampires GoT IFC YA TIFF DirecTV sports Starz cinemax Freeform Walt Disney Pictures TCM Animation Awards Tour jamie lee curtis travel FX San Diego Comic-Con diversity Best and Worst Logo Calendar Adult Swim singing competition Mary poppins MSNBC Christmas Summer NYCC Superheroe E! BBC dceu Character Guide Cosplay comic crime drama FXX TBS Paramount Network Amazon Universal USA WGN Infographic Valentine's Day Toys justice league Esquire Fox News TCA 2017 FOX Mary Tyler Moore hist Acorn TV First Look Opinion golden globes DC Comics Countdown Lifetime boxoffice 45 CBS All Access Reality Action Quiz crime thriller Box Office Teen mutant aliens finale The Arrangement cops Sundance Now NBC TruTV Ovation Crackle Winter TV TLC Trailer Netflix Nominations Cartoon Network Sundance Set visit Rom-Com streaming Pop Fall TV Reality Competition Paramount Country Rock Comedy Central Spike 2015 Spring TV ABC Family politics AMC Showtime CW Seed CBS harry potter TV transformers Watching Series zombie Polls and Games cooking VICE YouTube Red ratings Apple award winner GIFs VH1 science fiction Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA