Mike O'Donnell is ungrateful for how his life turned out. He gets a chance to rewrite his life when he tried to save a janitor near a bridge and jumped after him into a time vortex.


Burr Steers


Jason Filardi
1,255 ( 224)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Zac Efron ... Mike O'Donnell
Leslie Mann ... Scarlet
Thomas Lennon ... Ned Gold
Matthew Perry ... Mike O'Donnell (Adult)
Tyler Steelman ... Ned Gold (Teen)
Allison Miller ... Scarlet (Teen)
Sterling Knight ... Alex
Michelle Trachtenberg ... Maggie
Adam Gregory ... Dom
Hunter Parrish ... Stan
Mario Cassem Mario Cassem ... Samir
Kat Graham ... Jamie (as Katerina Graham)
Tiya Sircar ... Samantha
Melissa Ordway ... Lauren
Melora Hardin ... Principal Jane Masterson


At 17 Mike O'Donnell is on top of the world: he's the star of his high school basketball team, is a shoo-in for a college scholarship, and is dating his soul-mate, Scarlet. But at what's supposed to be his big game where a college scout is checking him out, Scarlet reveals that she's pregnant. Mike decides to leave the game and asks Scarlet to marry him, which she does. During their marriage, Mike can only whine about the life he lost because he married her, so she throws him out. When he also loses his job, he returns to the only place he's happy at, his old high school. While looking at his high school photo, a janitor asks him if he wishes he could be 17 again and he says yes. One night while driving he sees the janitor on a bridge ready to jump, and goes after him. When he returns to his friend Ned's house, where he has been staying, he sees that he is 17 again. He decides to take this opportunity to get the life he lost. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Who says you're only young once? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, some sexual material and teen partying | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


After Mike's party, Ned Gold slaps Mike three times. After the third slap, Zac Efron's face is visibly red on the left side. See more »


After Ned and Mike arrive in the courtroom, the judge's nameplate moves from being to the right of the gavel, to being directly in front of it, then back again. See more »


Mike O' Donnell: Oh sweet baby Jesus!
See more »

Crazy Credits

While the other crew members' credits at the end are listed with photos, cinematographer Tim Suhrstedt's credit is accompanied by a blank box with the legend "No Photo Available." See more »


Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.127 (2011) See more »


This is Love
Written by Simon Perry, Dave Thomas Junior and Toby Lightman
Performed by Toby Lightman
See more »

User Reviews

You don't know what you have until you lose it
15 April 2009 | by the-movie-guySee all my reviews

(Synopsis) In 1989, Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) is a high school senior and star athlete, who is heading for college on a basketball scholarship. But instead, Mike must give up his dreams, because his girlfriend Scarlett (played by Allison Miller - teenager) is pregnant. Twenty years have gone by and Mike is not living the good life. Mike must move in with his wealthy software genius nerd and best friend, Ned Freedman (Thomas Lennon), because he is separated from his wife Scarlett (played by Leslie Mann – adult). Mike has two teenage children, and he doesn't have a good relationship them either. At work, Mike has been passed over for another promotion again, because he doesn't have a college degree. Mike has hit rock bottom so he returns to his high school to reminisce his glory days. He shares his feelings with the school janitor how great things were when he was 17. On his way back to Ned's house, Mike is changed into a 17 year-old again. Mike returns to high school to finish the life he thought he should have had.

(My Comment) The story is a 'what if' story of things that could have been. We don't know how life will treat us when we go down a different path. Where would I be if I had gone to college, joined the army, or not married Scarlet? But what people don't realize is that you only have one life, and you can never go back. You must live the life you have and make it better, if you can. If you want to change the world, make a change to your world, and you change the world. Mike realizes that he hasn't been a good father or husband. He discovers why he fell in love with Scarlet in the first place, and what he has missed by not being closer to his children. Mike already had a perfect life, he just didn't appreciate it. Zac Efron does a good job of making you believe that he is the father of his two children in the scenes he has with them. The storyline is predictable, and we have seen it before, but if you want to see a feel good movie that will keep the whole family entertained throughout, this is a good movie to see. It also has a moral to the story that you don't know what you have until you lose it. (New Line Cinema, Run Time 1:42, Rated PG-13)(7/10)

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

17 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Zac Efron Project See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,722,310, 19 April 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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