Sunday, July 28, 2013

Post 400: Review 191: "21 & Over"

"Jeff Chang. Jeff Chang. Jeff Chang. Jeff Chang. Jeff Chang. Jeff Chang.
Jeff Chang. Jeff Chang. Jeff Chang. Jeff Chang."

Drinking Problem

      Well. Hollywood just excelled at making crappy comedies early this year, didn't they? A Haunted House, Movie 43, Identity Thief and now this. Ugh. Crappy comedies are among the worst things to watch for a critic, alongside boring films and anything starring Vince Vaughn. But hey, at least it was written by the Hangover guys, right? Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Change-Up) and follows three friends, douchebag extraordinaire Miller (Miles Teller), smart guy Casey (Skylar Astin) and newly 21 Jeff Chang (Justin Chon), who spend the night partying in order to celebrate Jeff Chang's 21st and plan to get him back home in time for an important job interview to please Jeff Chang's jerk father (Francois Chau). However, when Chang passes out and the group find themselves lost. As they search from Jeff Chang's home the cross paths with the friendly Nicole (Sarah Wright), the not-so-friendly Randy (Jonathan Keltz) and the drunkard Chief (Russell Hodgkinson).

See, I was in Twilight!
Stone Cold Sober

      21 & Over, much like the Hangover series the ads for this film loved to remind you was made by the writers of this film, simply finds it's biggest problem with the fact that it's actually not all that funny. But, whereas The Hangover was clever enough and likable enough to overcome that fact, 21 & Over is filled with cliches and unlikable characters to make you wish you'd never been born. Miles Teller may very well be a good actor, but you'd never know that in this film. Much like last year's Project X, which this film strives very hard to copy, Teller's Miller is a racist, sexist and wholly despicable character. There really is no redeeming character to him. Add to the fact that Jeff Chang is played by Chon with some severe overacting and you get a lot of bad acting in a short amount of time. The whole film just feels like a mish-mash of things that worked better in other movies. Project X clearly is an influence, the film's humor is desperately trying to remind you of Judd Apatow and the final twist is taken directly from The Hangover. And it's incredible obvious that that's what they're doing too.

Silver Lining

      Not everything about 21 & Over is terrible though. Astin and Wright stand out as actually good people and get a few laughs under their belts. It's weird that the film has two characters that are supposed to learn how to loosen up with Jeff Chang and Casey, but hey, at least one was good. Plus, the film does attempt to subvert some of their sexism by having plenty of male nudity and a guy-on-guy kiss that at least kinda makes it feel like the film is trying to be progressive, especially with a mostly male target audience. Though, the kiss is meant as punishment. And there is an earlier bad scene involving the guys pretending to be women so they can paddle two girls in their underwear and make them kiss. Okay, maybe this film is still pretty douchey. But, hey, at least they tried. Okay, yeah, this film's pretty awful. But at least it's message, of growing up is important, but so it having some fun while you can, is good and better than Project X's "Fuck life for titties!"

They know it too.
The Verdict

      Yeah, comedy in 2013 kinda took a nosedive. And not a funny slapstick one either. While 21 & Over does have a few laughs, a few good characters and tries to be a little progressive, it's still awful. There are still terrible, unlikable characters, bad acting, sexism, racism and poor writing. It's better than you'd expect it to be and it's still kinda sucks. 21 & Over gets 2 stars out of 6.

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