Pour one out – 21 & Over review

21andOver1

By Richard Haridy
July 10, 2013

Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writing team behind The Hangover making their directorial debut with 21 & Over, should thank their stars the similarly themed Project X came out last year. That’s because the bar had been set so low by that picture, it makes 21 & Over look decent in comparison.

Still sitting at the poorer end in a long tradition of “night on the town” flicks, 21 & Over introduces us to Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller), two friends intent on taking out Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) for his 21st birthday. Casey is your boring, buttoned-up kind of guy, while Miller is the fast-talking troublemaker. Jeff Chang, meanwhile, is an offensively unfunny Asian stereotype, studying to become a doctor and bizarrely always referred to by his full name as if simply saying “Jeff Chang” is a joke in and of itself.

21 and Over

Within fifteen minutes of this 90 minute feature, we are stuck at a bar with the boys yelling and doing shots. For the next hour, lots of noisy hijinks ensue, but nothing especially memorable or inventive. The entire movie is so fiercely unambitious it almost feels like the script was written as part of a dare. Can Jon Lucas and Scott Moore take a predictable cinematic formula, add absolutely nothing new to the mix, and still get it produced by a major studio? The answer is yes, sadly.

The positives? Miles Teller (who amusingly enough was also in Project X) has an energetic verve that is frequently reminiscent of early Vince Vaughn, while the film does move fast despite a predictable momentum. Oh, and the biggest positive of all: it’s not as bad as Project X. There is at least a small semblance of heart and sincerity here, especially in a final act that tries its best to jam a moral in.

21 & Over is lifeless, forgettable, and bland. It’s the type of film you can walk in on halfway through and not only figure out what is happening in 30 seconds, but become bored 30 seconds later. It’s as close to fast food as cinema gets.

2/5

21 & Over is now available on Quickflix.

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