Sunday, January 5, 2014

21 & Over: Movie Review


Great dialogue and likable actors makes it a nice addition to the crass comedy genre.
Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is turning 21. This means that it’s time to party with his two best friends. “21 & Over” is one of those crass Hollywood comedies where boys act like frat boys. And I know it’s supposed to be bad, but it’s actually pretty good. Miller (Miles Teller) is the more extreme friend who likes girls and likes to party, really wants to party with girls, and doesn’t see the point of anything else in life. Casey (Skylar Astin) is the sane friend. 2013

Directed by: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

Screenplay by: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

Starring: Skylar Astin, Miles Teller and Justin Chon

Miles Teller, Justin Chon and Skylar Astin in 21 & OVER,
an Alliance Films release
Jeff is a pre-med student with an overly controlling father. He has a desperate need to have some fun, even though he shouldn’t party the night before a medical school interview. But his friends won’t allow anything but alcohol-induced partying to occur. One beer quickly becomes too many, and Miller and Casey have a drunk, passed out Jeff Chang on their hands and they need to get him home. Of course it’s not quite that simple.

“21 & Over” has been compared to “The Hangover” (2009) and “Weekend at Bernie’s” (1989) for a good reason as it’s like a cross between the two. They have to drag around an almost-dead body with them, almost accidentally killing him a number of times, and whenever he wakes up they need to go find him again, and then get him home and pretend that nothing ever happened.
Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright star in Alliance Films' 21 & OVER.
(Left to right.) Skylar Astin, Sarah Wright and Miles Teller
star in 21 & OVER. Photo Credit John Johnson.
The highlight of the film is the dialogue. Miles Teller plays debauchery well and delivers wanton lines even better. Skylar Astin has the special ability to remain likable as he walks the line between sane and boring, and crude and vulgar. There were some brilliant lines about why Casey is not a frat boy (he’s “not angry and secretly gay”) and about what they are too old to do (including, but not limited to, “take handfuls of ecstasy and dance around in fur with other people in fur.”). And there’s even character development. A good portion of the film involves Casey and Miller finding out about Jeff Chang’s real life as they are just trying to figure out where he lives.

Occasionally the movie drags a bit when the guys are at yet another party and they need to drink even more beer and more montages of more drinking. But without those scenes, “21 & Over” wouldn’t be the genre that it is. And ultimately it makes a pretty nice and funny addition to that genre.

Similar Titles:

Horrible Bosses (2011) - Adding coarse and sexual content to make a plot-rich story funny.

The Hangover (2009) - From nowhere to Las Vegas and answered the funniest questions ever asked.

We're the Millers (2013) - The fake family brings many laughs, the other elements bring a few groans.

That Awkward Moment (2014) - Funny moments and moments that just fall flat.