Scott Marks 3:30 p.m., Dec. 24
Second-chance fantasy that, through the agency of a bewhiskered supernatural school janitor, sends the middle-age-crazy hero not back in time, but back in age, back to the high school of his youth, so that he must fend off the incestuous flirtations of his teenage daughter and make age-inappropriate advances to the disaffected wife he had long since lost interest in (and who, incidentally, has the minimum mental wherewithal to notice, if not to make adequate fuss about, his uncanny resemblance to the boy she married twenty years ago). We expect to encounter logic problems in any time-travel tale, so it’s best not to compound them with extraneous nonsense whereby the daughter’s brutish boyfriend — inexplicable in itself — would also be her brother’s chief bully and tormentor. And it’s hard to be happy at a happy ending that assumes the wife, who has travelled nowhere, would have learned the same lessons as her time-tripping husband. Leslie Mann, seemingly doomed to subsist at the level of Drillbit Taylor, Knocked Up, Big Daddy, The Cable Guy, et al., is very good as the wife, carrying a lot of tension, intelligence, sensitivity, pain, and whatnot in her pop eyes and pursed mouth, without ever forgetting she’s in a comedy. The compensation she provides, although not small, is not sufficient. Zac Efron, Matthew Perry, Thomas Lennon, Michelle Trachtenberg; directed by Burr Steers. 2009.
- Rated PG-13 | 1 hour, 42 minutes
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