Review: 21 & Over

Don Malvasi

Another self-congratulatory, demented youth party film comes roaring out of the woodwork, dead on arrival. 21 & Over, directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, writers of The Hangover, will likely rile racist and misogynist sensibilities while largely falling short in laughs. A mere handful of funny moments fails to mitigate a tired formula. Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is cruelly turning 21 on the eve of a big medical school admissions interview. Seems his overbearing dad is watching him like a hawk to make sure he’s in tiptop shape for the big event. Two pals, Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylab Aston) show up in a taxi to coax Jeff Chang (he’s never called anything else in this flick) to go out for his birthday anyway. Just one drink.

After a few bar scenes where bacchanalia never seemed so airless, Jeff is practically in a coma, although he manages to get carried around while asleep propped between his two buddies like a ragdoll. Before long he’ll be eating a tampon in a Latina sorority while Miller and Casey manage to spank a couple of blindfolded pledges with paddles. One of them excietdly forgets and talks , revealing that they are actually unbelonging males and not sorority sisters. Then they make a mad dash for Jeff Chang and eventually throw him out of a second story window. Since viewers have no revengeful opportunity to throw this movie out of a window, we proceed to a pep rally where a guy who earlier in a bar accidentally had a dart thrown in his face by Casey, is now the key to Miller and Casey finding out where Jeff lives. Oh, I know, they started out the movie at Jeff’s place, so why wouldn’t they know where he lives? Beats me.

Jeff gets abandoned and left with two practical-joking stoners at a party somewhere along the way, and exits with a bra on his chest and a teddy bear stuck to his crotch. Naturally he gets himself arrested. I won’t divulge anymore spoliers but there’s a hot girl Nicole (Sarah Wright) involved who seemingly can’t wait for Casey to make his move–a detail the less-dorky Miller doesn’t fail to mention incessantly.

Teller went full circle from his quality performance as the sensitive kid opposite Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole to last year’s party flick, Project X. Here he bears not only the extra weight of assuming the stereotype-spewing, wild-and-crazy foil opposite the straightlaced Aston (Pitch Perfect), but a further career progression from the talented to the tawdry.

1 1/2 Naughty, Brainless Insults To Our Intelligence (out of 5)

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