21 and Over revolves around a group of guys on a partying journey, but this isn’t The Hangover. One of the characters has an important event to attend the next morning and is the subject of many troubles, but this isn’t The Hangover. There are a lot of naked people, alcohol and drugs involved, but THIS IS NOT The Hangover.
Now, we are not going to waste time pretending this movie aspired to Oscar contention, which it would have obviously failed miserably at. For the purpose it serves, the movie could be considered decent, bringing a few smiles, but still feels too recycled. 21 and Over’s storyline is simplistic: Jeff Chang, a promising med student who is played by Justin Chon, gets a surprise visit from his two longtime friends Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller), on his 21st birthday. With one of the most important interviews of his life scheduled for the next morning, Chang agrees to a quiet celebration with the pair. Festivities quickly get out of hand, turning into a night of debauchery and depravity.
Whereas recent movies like The Hangover and Project X have relied on either memorable lines and performances or insanely over the top attitude, 21 and Over wanders in the middle, not knowing where to stand. Instead of being a non-stop ride of laughs, it’s few funny scenes, which are essentially summed up in the trailer, come up almost carelessly, here and there. And when it tries to bring up more serious subjects, it never gets to the bottom of it. As for the cast, the main actors have previously endorsed similar roles: Teller as a party animal in Project X and Astin as the nice guy next door in Pitch Perfect. Chon, while unconscious for the better part of the movie, brings a funny twist and harmony to the group with his first major role.
21 and Over matches whatever low expectations the trailer had allowed us to prepare for. It brings nothing new to the table, and while you maintain the hope of being surprised by exciting writers, you quickly sober up and become aware of the silence in the screening room. The movie scrapes whatever was left of The Hangover‘s vomit-covered cutting room floor, but still doesn’t manage to get any substance. Instead, we are thrown in the middle of clichéd frat parties, getting forever wilder and yet still serving as a reference for prospective college students.
We are chasing Jeff Chang throughout the whole movie, without ever getting anywhere. “Did we just kill Jeff Chang, again?” might be the quote which sums up 21 and Over the best, more specifically, its repetitiveness and lack of interest. Dear viewers, save yourselves that Cheapy Tuesday ticket, and go rent a comedy more worthy of your money. 21 Jump Street, I Love You, Man, Mystery Team, to name only a few, ensure that you can still turn your brain off and keep laughing.