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‘Seventeen Again’ Is Good Family Fun

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SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Turning back the hands of time may be as easy as washing them. The chanceto be young and carefree in the world again is a notion that is appealing to many and provides the premise for “Seventeen Again,” a new Showtime movie premiering Sunday at 8 p.m.

A family affair, “Seventeen Again” stars twins Tia and Tamera Mowry (“Sister, Sister”) and their younger brother Tahj Mowry (“Smart Guy”) as members of the Donovan family in a story that reminds us of the differences between generations and that despite age, striving to live life well and with dignity is the route to happiness.

After relocating from Los Angeles to a small town in Connecticut, the Donovans are adjusting to their new lives. Sydney (Tia Mowry) is resentful, missing California and trying to fit in at her new high school. Little brother Willie (Tahj Mowry) is content as long as he is near his chemistry lab in the family garage.

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As their parents must make an unexpected trip back to the West Coast, the kids are left in the care of their bickering grandparents, Cat and Gene. Trouble ensues when Willie’s latest lab experiment goes awry and miraculously rejuvenates his grandparents. Overjoyed at being 17 again, the now “youthful” Cat and Gene (Tamera Mowry and Mark Taylor) live it up as Willie discovers the effect the hazardous chemicals will soon have on them. A race begins to reverse more than Willie’s mistake.

Written by Stewart St. John, the film is clearly intended for a family audience. It is almost a rite of passage that the characters encounter what most people do in their teenage years: the romantic crush, the bully and the popular clique. It gently jests at young and old alike with topics ranging from slang and dress to indigestion and talking computers.

The nature of “Seventeen Again” is one of normalcy with a hint of wholesomeness thrown in for good measure. Featuring well-defined production design and a fun musical interlude (one of the executive producers is Shawn Stockman of the recording group Boyz II Men) the movie unfortunately gets bogged down by oddly paced close-ups, edits and out-of-place graphics.

Nevertheless, watching the interaction between the Mowry siblings themselves is enjoyable. They have all worked together long enough that the most natural and comedic aspects of their performances shine.

“Seventeen Again” is an affable work, accessible to all but better suited to families, young adults and those who are learning or need to be reminded (as the characters do) that overcoming the fears you create within yourself will free you to be happy no matter what age you are.

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* “Seventeen Again” can be seen Sunday at 8 p.m. on Showtime. The network has rated it TV-PG (may be unsuitable for young children).


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