Rating: 3.5 of 5
In some ways, Zach Efron completely makes this movie. And not just because he’s a lot more interesting to watch than Matthew Perry.
The premise is something we’ve seen plenty of before but it manages to be fresh and enjoyable in this incarnation. Partly because it’s well written. Partly because the secondary characters are surprisingly interesting (I can’t help that I love Ned because he’s sweet and hilarious). Mostly because it doesn’t try to hard to justify the whole outlandish turn of events. It leaves them a lot of room for a really cute and fun movie without the horribe embarassing moments most movies like this have. And let me just say how much credit they get for not including horribly awkward moments.
But Zach Efron does a brilliant job channeling the character that Matthew Perry established. He feels like a younger version of that character. He also manages to carry a maturity that makes you believe he’s a 40 year old guy in a 17 year old body. So the romance with his “wife” isn’t awkward or uncomfortable the way it could have been. It’s actually believable and romantic. Which, is fun and sweet when you’re in the middle of it. But really odd when you step back and think about what it actually is. You sort of feel like you should be uncomfortable with this 17 year old romancing this older woman, but instead you’re totally buying into it. Because Efron manages this incredible balance between being really mature when the scene calls for it and also really young. Plus, he’s very cute and very charming.
Even more than all that, though, I was surprised by how unexpectedly funny the movie was in different places. I don’t get to say that often, so I really enjoyed it.