21 & Over (2013)
“Blackout the date”
21 & Over (2013)
Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Cast: Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Jonathan Keltz
Synopsis: The night before his big medical school interview, a promising student celebrates his 21st birthday with his two best friends.
It comes as no surprise that 21 & Over was written by the same team (Jon Lucas & Scott Moore) behind The Hangover, because this film is nothing more than a reworking of that one – but tweaked so as to increase its appeal to the teen market. The plot sees annoying high school drop-out Miller (Miles Teller – Divergent) and his sensible friend Casey (Skylar Astin) paying a surprise visit on a third lifelong friend, the slightly nerdy college student Jeff Chang (Justin Chon), to help him celebrate his 21st birthday. The problem is that Jeff has a super-important interview early the following morning which his overbearing father (Francois Chau) insists he mustn’t miss.
The boys’ agreement that they’ll go out for just one beer is quickly broken when Jeff is bewitched by the realisation that he can now enter every bar in the campus town that was previously barred to him. Naturally, after a whirlwind tour of half-a-dozen of them, Jeff has drunk himself insensible. Realising that they don’t know where he lives, Casey and Miller embark on an epic quest to obtain his address so that they can get him home before 7am, when his father is due to pick him up.
The boys’ antics as they traverse the pitfalls of a college town on party night are both contrived and predictable. They include the invasion of a sorority house, membership which appears to be restricted to hot – but impressionable – young women, the partaking of many drinking games, and a moment of slow-motion vomiting which is lovingly repeated from various angles like the money shot of some second-rate action movie. The boys also repeatedly cross paths with Nicole (Sarah Wright), a Sorority girl with whom Casey slowly becomes enchanted and, by massive coincidence, her violent jock boyfriend (Jonathan Keltz) and his pair of fawning sidekicks. The opportunities for humour in these situations are many and obvious, and they’re mostly handled with a sad lack of inspiration by Lucas and Moore, who also co-directed.
At its best, 21 & Over conjures up memories of those teen comedies that used to haunt the shelves of video shops back in the 1980s (that might seem an unfair comparison to some, but I can’t helping thing Messrs Lucas and Moore would be quite pleased by it). The character of Miller is consistently annoying, but Miles Teller – who has something of the young John Cusack about him – does at least show some comic potential. Astin is largely anonymous in a role that offers him little opportunity to shine, while it’s Chon who paradoxically wins the biggest laughs, even though he spends much of his time pretending to be in an alcoholic stupor. Watch and forget…
(Reviewed 7th June 2015)