Movie Review: 21 And Over (2013, Dir. Jon Lucas & Scott Moore)

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Remember how fresh The Hangover was? Remember how much raunchy fun we all had with Alan, Stu, Phil, and Doug? Remember how unexpected everything was? Writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore were lauded for their creativity and quick wit. That film is a prime example of an R-rated comedy that truly worked. 21 and Over may be a prime example of an R-rated comedy that not only fails, but crashes and burns with no hope of survival, since no one wishes to be the one responsible for letting anything survive.

I mentioned The Hangover and its writers since Jon Lucas and Scott Moore not only wrote this film, but it is also their directorial debut. Unfortunately, if 21 and Over is the best they can do, they have no directing skills. Unless, of course, you consider showing someone projectile barfing in slow motion to be any sort of skill. Apparently the team also lost any writing skills they may have had, merely recycling the plot of The Hangover except instead of Las Vegas they injected the central ‘characters’ into a 7th grader’s idea of what college is.

In the off chance you care, which you shouldn’t, the plot follows an Asian-American A-student named Jeff Chang (Justin Chon, a Twilight graduate) who is having his 21st birthday. He would be out partying since as it is his birthday, but he has an interview for a job that could determine the course of his entire life coming up. His old high school friends, college dropout Miller (Miles Teller, an actor with promise who should not have been wasting his time with this) and ‘overly hard-working’ Casey (Skylar Astin, the leading man of Pitch Perfect), decide to go fuck it all up, because that is what friends are for, according to the writing-directing team.

What happens? Jeff, having been drinking for years finally and now able to do it legally, overdoes it, and is soon drunk out of his mind and blacking out. When Miller and Casey decide that their business is complete, they attempt to take him home, except THEY DON’T KNOW WHERE HE LIVES!!! Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Time for some cray cray times, amirite?

No. I may have smiled three times during the film’s entire run-time, and laughed only once. That one time I laughed was during 21 And Over‘s attempt to create a dramatic, romantic moment. The line delivery was, for the most part, terrible and stale. I am not certain if it was the actor’s fault or the writer’s, or some combination of the two. My guess is on the latter. In the past, I have enjoyed other performances from the whole cast, but they seemed to have no material to work with. Actually, Justin Chon was not terrible, but since he was unconscious for three fourths of the movie, he was not really able to help.

What happened to these writers? They had such wit in The Hangover. The humor found in 21 and Over involves slow-mo projectile vomit, guys just walking around wearing tube socks over their genitals, and a random guy dancing around in Native American garb (the worst deus ex machina I may ever have seen). There was not even a hint of intelligence behind any of the dialogue. Mostly, there was just racism, sexism, and idiocy so unbelievable it reached the point of not being funny. There were some major logic problems like, “hey, look, they brought a buffalo out for a pep rally without any sort of safety provisions. That happened,” and, “hey, look, I was hit by a buffalo last night but now I am walking it off, because being mauled by a buffalo doesn’t severely hurt people!”

Another reason 21 And Over is such a failure is its racism and misogyny. There is a whole segment of the movie where Miller and Casey are in a sorority house looking for someone, but what they do not know is that the house they are in is the Latina sorority. The fact that the members are Hispanic is the entire joke. And it goes on for about fifteen minutes. Seriously. Oh, and whilst inside the house, Miller paddles two members of the house, and convinces them that they have to start making out. That had the potential to be funny, but the way it was done was just horribly creepy, disgusting, and sexist.

In addition to that, some of the scenes seem to go much longer than they should, and some end way sooner than they should. The writers force the unfunny or annoying scenes, like the Latina sorority scene, roughly ten minutes longer than it should last, and those with the possibility to be funny scenes, like most with Justin Chon, about three minutes shorter than it should go. The opening montage of Justin Chon getting wasted with Miller and Casey’s help is one of the least funny things in the film, and it goes on for about twenty minutes. There is a specific scene within that montage that goes for maybe ten minutes, which is roughly fifteen minutes too long. Does that make sense? Neither does this movie, so I do not care.

Most comedies have stupid characters. In Dumb and Dumber that is the entire plot, actually. However, this is a limit to how much stupidity is allowed to be on screen before it reaches the point of, “He just ate a tampon. I wish this movie was The Hunger Games so I see at least two of these three assholes die.” It reaches that point about fifteen minutes in, during the dreadful bar scene. The absurd level of douchery, idiocy, racism, sexism, homophobia, and meanness makes me believe I would have a better time watching a four hour silent documentary about all the different kinds of doors in the world rather than this again.

If you have not picked up on it yet, I would not suggest seeing this movie for any reason. With dramas, if they are bad, at least people can laugh at the terrible dialogue like in Safe Haven. If a comedy is bad, it is not funny. What is there to laugh at?

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