21 & Over

Directed By: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

Starring: Justin Chon, Miles Teller, Skylar Astin, Francois Chau, and Sarah Wright

The first weekend in March seems to be the party movie weekend.  Exactly one year ago, we had Thomas Mann and Oliver Cooper trying to live like legends in Project X.  We all saw what happened with that movie, nothing but pointless juvenile antics.  With that in mind, Hollywood has decided to fast forward a few years and tackle the big 2-1, the last frontier before real life begins.  It's the final hoorah before our adulthood, the boring life full of diapers and deliverables that no one likes to mention.  This weekend's 21 & Over tries to capture the good times before that plunge into real life.  There's just one problem.  Jeff Chang and his boys aren't that funny.

It's the morning after Jeff Chang's (Justin Chon) 21st birthday, and his longtime friends Casey and Miller (Skylar Astin and Miles Teller) are walking around campus naked with their asses branded and their cocks in socks.  The day prior, these two came to see their friend and give him a 21st birthday for the ages.  Because Jeff has an interview for med school the next morning, his father Dr. Chang (Francois Chau) doesn't like the sound of this night of partying and threatens Casey and Miller to stay in with Jeff tonight.  With plenty of liquor flowing, the trio of friends opt to have one wild night during which they piss off some guys on campus, have plenty of fun with some Latina sorority sisters, and party like rock stars with an "Indian chief".  Meanwhile, Casey hits on a sorority chick named Nicole (Sarah Wright).

Under normal circumstances, I would wholeheartedly endorse a film that's all about knocking back a few drinks and living the good life.  Hell, I'm probably about to go easy on this movie because of that.  21 & Over delivers some laughs, but the comedy is too choppy and uneven.  There are only pockets of genuine humor.  The attempts at comedy in this party flick don't work for two reasons.  First, the humor is something we've seen before on many occasions.  Second, the actors don't bring the laughs.  Honestly, I can't give 21 & Over my endorsement.  The comedy just isn't there.

Much like Project X, 21 & Over dials up the raunchy antics in the tradition of films like The Hangover and Old School.  Bloody dart games, epic beer pong, and spankings of blindfolded sorority girls are just the tip of the iceberg for this wild affair.  This movie gets downright crazy.  It doesn't really matter though.  Profane, racy antics are the standard in comedies these days to the extent that they often trump building genuine comedic arcs.  21 & Over directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore need to do a whole lot more than create a wild night to hold my attention.  They need to put comedy first and hardcore partying second.  It's the same mistake Project X director Nima Nourizadeh made a year ago.

As much as I would like to, I can't put all the blame on Lucas and Moore for 21 & Over's inconsistent laughs.  The cast definitely shares some of it.  As Jeff Chang, Justin Chon delivers a not-so-funny Asian dude.  When his character isn't unconscious from all his drinking, Chon embarrasses himself with ridiculous stunts.  As party animal Miller, Miles Teller leaves a lot to be desired though he delivers a few bits of humor.  Like Oliver Cooper in Project X, the wild guy Teller brings to life on the big screen doesn't get the job done.  His character is more of an asshole than a funny guy, and nobody likes an asshole.  As Stanford student Casey, Pitch Perfect star Skylar Astin plays the straight arrow.   He's the one guy in the movie with an excuse for not being funny.  Though he gives a halfway decent performance, it's far from enough to rescue the film.

21 & Over is just another bad party comedy.  It ratchets up the raunchiness but tones down the laughs in the process.  There were quite a few drinks in this flick, so I'm not entirely sure there is a drink of choice.  All I know is that you'll need plenty of cocktails to get through this one.  21 & Over gets a 0.09% rating.