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Is 21 & Over An Unforgettable Or An Already Forgotten Ride?

Annie Lloyd |
March 3, 2013 | 9:32 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

21 & Over (Relativity Media)
21 & Over (Relativity Media)
When will America get over its hangover? Yes, the real Hangover, the movie that started it all, was a resounding success. But the environment it created for mainstream humor is one where wit relies on mayhem and no real comedic effort. Put simply: it’s lazy. The jokes hit the obvious targets in a world of extreme chaos and contrivance. The style assumes the audience desires only montage after montage of crazy nights without any real originality to back it up. 21 & Over - out nowserves as 2013’s latest addition to this genre of recklessness. 

The film from Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (the writers of… you guessed it, The Hangover) centers around the story of two high school friends surprising their third amigo on his 21st birthday, intent on a night of blackouts and debauchery. Miles Teller plays Miller, the irresponsible and offensive leader of the evening. Teller’s ability to play the part consistently does not make up for the character’s one-sided style of humor. His lines are both irreverent and crass, and his fellow characters consistently make remarks on how racist or generally offensive his comments sound. It’s not a good sign when even his best friends in the film’s world don’t find him funny. His brand of humor isn’t the problem; as every successful comedy displays, raunchy offensiveness equals hilarity. When that kind of humor has no life behind it though, when it’s lazy and casual, the jokes fall flat.

His partner in crime is Casey, a straight-laced but charming business student played by Skylar Astin. Casey is supposed to serve as the responsible one next to Miller’s rash self, but that demeanor proves to be poorly-laid out hindrance. The filmmakers capitalize on Astin’s appeal; his story ends up getting the most development and importance of the three.

Jeff Chang (played by Justin Chon), the character whose 21st birthday sets the story in motion, spends most of the movie unconscious or in a drunken stupor. Such a lack of development makes it hard for the writers’ thoughtful and sincere sub-current to develop properly. This emotional current actually has some believable and nice moments about the characters’ attempts to figure out their lives. The tumultuous course of the evening overshadows those moments, however, impeding on their ability to land properly. 

Overall, while the film has some positive moments, it does not hold its own in the difficult and cutthroat world that is comedic cinema. The entire film awaits its entry into the relm of forgettable features. In no way will it leave the mark in the way an epic 21st birthday should. 

Reach Staff Reporter Annie Lloyd here. Follow her on Twitter here.



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