George Burns, Red Buttons, Charlie Schlatter, Pauly Shore
Made at the height of the "body-swap" movie craze, "18 Again" is the cousin of "Vice Versa" with Judge Reinhold, "Like Father Like Son" with Dudley Moore and "Big" with Tom Hanks.
The movie begins with the young-at-heart millionaire, Jack Watson (George Burns), who is having a party celebrating his 81st birthday. His family favorite is his introvert 18-year-old grandson, David Watson (Charlie Schlatter). As Jack blows out the candles on his birthday cake he makes a wish that he would be 18 again, hence the title.
Later, on the way home after a quick fast-food stop and lesson in love, a momentary loss of concentration on Jack's part causes a tragic car accident which, as it turns out later, has spiritually switched their minds and bodies.
Jack is left comatose in the hospital with his grandson's mind, while David is alive and well with his grandfather's mind.
David is a freshman in college and faced with many teen issues such as getting picked on by older frat brothers, chasing after his dream girl and trying to keep up with his teamates on the track team.
He's not doing so good.
But, with Jack's enthusiastic personality in David's body, he easily overcomes these obstacles -Which just leaves upholding his families name and Grandfathers legacy in the the symbolic track race he has to endure at the end of the movie.
Although the movie --and particulary the ending- may be predictable, this movie is delightful for all ages, not just for teens. The warm and very funny script is matched with truly excellent performances and chemistry between Burns and Schlatter. Both actors are simply wonderful to behold and make an average premise into an above average movie. Their sincere portrayal makes the viewer realize that they should appreciate what they have before it's gone, and you should live life to the fullest and have no regrets.
Although the movie was critisized for following the late 80's trend of body swapping, comparable to "Vice Versa" and "Like Father Like Son", this movie has it's own distinct characteristics. Charlie Schlatter does an excellent job mimicking every distinct move of George Burns, including the way he holds his cigar, the way he slants his eyes and his old-man strut... It's classic!
The movie is also titled after George Burn's only hit song, "I Wish I was 18 Again" also performed in the movie. The movie also features appearances from Pauly Shore and Red Buttons, Jack and David Watson's best friends, who help get them through the movie.
After watching this movie, just maybe you'll appreciate the valuable lessons learned in life from the old and the young.
I give this movie an 9 out of 10 because it is yet another of the movies to be filmed following the 80's trend of switching body and mind.
But, come one now... George Burns is in it... He's pure class... He's the epitome of the most distinctive actor, from the bow-ties to the round glasses to the never-ending cigar smoking. He'll forever remain in my heart. I mean who wouldn't want George Burns as their grandfather? It is a shame that he isn't actually in the majority of the movie, but his voiceovers do add a god-like quality [see trivia!].
18 Again mixes both old actors and up-and-coming actors of the late 80's. It also mixes genres of comedy, adventure and drama... A fit for all types of viewers. It is definitely a must-see for you 80's fans!
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