18 Again!: If George Burns Had Switched Bodies With A California Raisin In 1988, Nobody Would Have Been Able To Tell The Difference

18 Again!: If George Burns Had Switched Bodies With A California Raisin In 1988, Nobody Would Have Been Able To Tell The Difference

In which Jason and Nick Tecosky review the 1976 trailer for 18 Again!. Part of a series of trailer reviews for body-switching comedies of the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s.

JASON

Let’s go ahead and get one thing out the way. Saying that George Burns is celebrating his birthday “in his grandson David’s body” is an odd way to phrase things, right? For example, if I were to say to you, “Nick Tecosky, tonight I’m celebrating my birthday…in your body,” there’d be no other way to interpret that, right? Would you assume that a birthday wish is going to swap our bodies, or would you assume that I plan to just go to town on you while Jeremih’s “Birthday Sex” plays in the background?

Now, at the time 18 Again! was in theaters, George Burns was 81. It was totally legal to fuck him. I would say that it was the most legal it’s ever been to fuck George Burns. It was so legal to fuck George Burns that you could get a law degree just by giving him a hand job.

But you might want to brush up on your George Burns age-of-consent laws, because thanks to some birthday-wish-related magic, he’s about to swap bodies with his 18 year old grandson David, inside of whom he’s apparently going to be “celebrating.” George Burns’ decrepit-turned-nubile body is now skirting the boundaries of legality, is what I mean to say.

Nick. NICK. Celebrated octogenarian George Burns is now officially barely legal.

NICK

First off: When you worry about semantics, you undercut the true horror of this film.

Which is, of course, the strange attitude that our sexy-barely-legal-81-year-old clearly has about his new body: Oh, shit, I can drink heavily and chain smoke again! This is an excuse to be totally reckless USING SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY. I can have sex again! USING MY GRANDSON’S PENIS. I AM USING MY GRANDSON’S BODY TO LIVE OUT FANTASIES. I can be best friends with Paulie Shore all day long BECAUSE THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES TO MY ACTIONS. I mean, if it were a stranger’s body, fuck it. I don’t owe this kid anything. Besides, every youngster should experience crabs at least once, right, Gracie?

The scene that they never show in these body-switch movies is the scene wherein the protagonist has to take a crap and all at once he realizes that he is going to have to take that crap USING HIS GRANDFATHER’S GRAYING ASSHOLE.

He is going to have to pull down his pants and sit on that padded toilet seat, and he is going to have to experience that, and even if he gets back to his own body in the end, he is going to have to live with that experience for the rest of his days. Oh, not such a crazy thrill-ride now, is it? Whose idea was this anyway? Is this a nightmare? Am I being taught a lesson? Why doesn’t the universe just kill me? Why is this apple buried in my thorax?

JASON

Nick, do you think I could have gotten my hands on all those cigars meant for George Burns up in heaven, if I’d swapped bodies with him and died while still in his body? Committed a little spiritual identity fraud, I mean. Stolen the debit card of his soul.

They don’t know what George Burns’ true self looks like up in heaven. I could have just started shaking hands right off the bat, being like, “Hey, everybody, it’s me—George Burns! What do you mean I look different? Bitch, you look like George Burns with your wrinkly balls. I’m What Dreams May Come-ing myself! I can look like whoever I want. You’re lucky I didn’t choose to look like Cuba Gooding, Jr. Then we’d all have to watch Snow Dogs. Now get off my back and give me a goddam cigar!”

Then I’d eat all the grapes in heaven, and all the raisins in California Raisin heaven. I think we can both agree that raisins taste better when they’re enjoying their eternal reward in the raisin afterlife for their good deeds. Sorry, saintly California Raisins—but I’m gonna have to eat you, and your little saxophones and sunglasses. Guess all those years of not cheating on your raisin wives while you were performing on the road were all for nothing.

Nick, the lesson here is: if you’re a Motown-singing raisin living a virtuous life here on Earth, you may as well go ahead and indulge in your darkest vices, because the only thing waiting for you in heaven is to be eaten by a grifter pretending to be George Burns.

NICK

Effectively, you’re just creating a world in which there are no rewards or consequences, where anyone could be or not be George Burns at will, and where not cheating on your Raisin-wife is a sort of value-neutral decision. An eternity filled with sociopaths.

God is dead.
The Uberburnz reigns supreme.
Everything is permitted.
Every Raisin for himself.

I’d suggest you explore this further, maybe write a novel or something, but Atlas Shrugged already exists in print, and now in the form of two-thirds of a low-budget film series that- sort of ironically- couldn’t get enough financial backing to finish the third picture or get a halfway reasonable distribution deal. Apparently nobody really needed to figure out who John Galt was after all.

Talk about social Darwinism.

You and Ayn Rand can keep your weird, lawless eternity, and the grayed, wrinkled anatomy of Mr. Burns, and all of the soullessness that it entails.

I’m gonna gather up the Raisins and start a fucking co-op somewhere. Gonna raise alpacas. Gonna stay far away from the birthday wishes of Greedy Old Men.