Musical Score By: Rolfe Kent
Distributed by: Silva Screen Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the comedy 17 Again, Matthew Perry stars as Mike O’Donnell, a man whose life has gone by the wayside. His wife has left him, his job is stagnant and his children resent him. After visiting his old high school and pondering the decisions he made as a popular student with a promising basketball career ahead of him that landed him in the position he is in today, Mike accidentally falls into a mysterious vortex. Blacking out after the experience, Mike awakens to discover that he has been transformed into his 17-year-old self (Zach Efron). Realizing he has a chance to reshape his life, Mike takes the opportunity he has been given to recapture the life he lost.
The musical score of 17 Again was created by Rolfe Kent, a British composer who knew he wanted to be a film composer at the young age of 12. Kent is known for mixing the sounds of familiar instruments such as violins, clarinets, flutes and pianos with unusual instruments from other countries to create a sound that is all his own. His film composing credits include About Schmidt, Sideways, Legally Blonde, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Kent also composed the Main Title Theme for the hit television show Dexter.
When I first popped this soundtrack into the CD player, I was somewhat surprised at the sound. I knew that this was a comedy and I was prepared for some lighthearted tunes with music in the higher pitches and tones. Instead, I was first greeted with some dramatically serious music. As I listened further, I heard tracks that did contain some of that lighthearted sound, but they were few and far between. Instead, the musical score seemed to be of a more serious tone with a bit of action mixed in.
Then I read the liner notes and understood. Rolfe Kent’s approach to this musical score was defined by the film creator Burr Steers’ description of the theme of the film. Noting that the film was about a man in crisis who had lost his way and was “energetically trying to figure it all out,” Kent decided to take the dramatic part of this theme seriously. This would account for the dramatic tone of many of the tracks on this album.
In listening to the 17 Again Soundtrack, instead of lighthearted fare, I was greeted with a musical score with a surprising amount of depth. I found Kent’s approach to the composition of this musical score to be unique and refreshing. In addition to the music performed by various artists (released in another album 17 Again: Music from the Motion Picture), the musical score composed by Rolfe Kent is a perfect compliment to the movie it was created for.