If you are looking for a poorly-done college adapted version of The Hangover, then look no further and go buy yourself a ticket for 21 and Over immediately. The Hangover producers have blessed us once again with a film filled with crazy nighttime adventures, fueled by alcohol and lack of imagination.
When long time friends Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skyler Astin) reunite to party with their old friend Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) for his 21st birthday, a plethora of clichés burst forth. Unfortunately, when Miller and Casey arrive at their friend’s house, they learn that his strict father (played by the same actor who played the strict father in The Hangover Part II) is forcing Jeff to go to a med-school interview. Surprisingly, after bar crawling through the city, an inebriated Jeff on the cusp of a coma, can’t remember his address and his friends struggle to get him home before his interview.
Even though the movie spark the occasional laugh, its weak plot line left me disappointed. Even the forgotten address, the reason for the night’s mayhem, is very unreasonable – in our socially connected age, a friend’s address should be sufficiently attainable. From there, the friends travel around the college campus, break into a sorority, instigate a riot and run into the cops. Overall, the concept of the movie would be funny, but with poor acting and bad writing it all falls flat. Like the rest of these Animal House-esque movies, there is always a poorly tacked on love connection between two characters. This is a story we’ve all heard before: girl and boy connect, but girl dates overly aggressive and obnoxious boyfriend, then girl breaks up with said boyfriend and dates boy. 21 and Over’s romance, however, seems forced, as the two characters’ minimal interaction one drunk night suddenly leads to love. But all movies strive to hit the emotional strings of Americans and, of course, there is drama between the two best friends, Miller and Casey, after they are subjected to spanking by a sorority amongst other embarrassing events. Despite these absurd scenes, the movie ends with a reinvigorated old friendship, a romantic relationship, and a son standing up to his father and insisting that he’s going to make his own decisions. Yawn.
Ultimately, 21 and Over fails to hit any mark. If you want few cheap jokes or happen to stumble out of Mad Bowl into a movie theater, go for it. For the rest of you, I suggest keeping away. This repeated synthesis of over-used (and poorly executed) plot lines with outrageous random events works with some movies such as the stoner classic, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, but fails miserably with the rest of them. 21 and Over is a case in point. I shouldn’t be surprised given that American Pie spin offs are still being made, but I am nonetheless disappointed. Save your money and more importantly, your dignity.