There’s a lot of fun to be had with ’21 and Over’ if you know what you’re getting into. Sure, you’ll hear people say that it mimics ‘The Hangover‘, possibly to a tee, but in my opinion, I think this entertaining movie stands on its own. ‘Hangover’ scribes Scott Moore and Jon Lucas get behind the director’s chair together for their first time with this comedy about college drinking and debauchery, and prove they have just as much skill as Todd Phillips.
We first meet Miller (Miles Teller), a fast talking wise-ass on his way to see his high-school best friend’s college campus in order to celebrate that friend’s 21st birthday. He’s joined by another friend Casey (Skylar Astin), who’s on a path to be a successful square on Wall Street. The birthday boy in question is Jeff Chang (Justin Chon), who seems like a very bright, enthusiastic and responsible student on the exterior. However, Jeff lives with constant stress from a demanding father (Francois Chau) who makes him study 24 hours a day in order to become a doctor. As a result, in order to please his father, Jeff hasn’t had much of a social life in college.
Chang says that he has the interview of his life the next morning and can’t celebrate turning 21 with the friends who have travelled to see him. But with a little arm pulling and an air horn, an epic and disastrous night begins. It starts out normally enough, as they’re all out at the local bar doing shots, when a rogue dart pierces an angry guy in the face. The trio leave as Chang gets so hammered that he can’t walk on his own, and basically becomes unconscious for the remainder of the film with brief flashes of coming-to and drinking more.
The boys’ mission is to get their friend Jeff home before his father picks him up first thing in the morning for his interview. Only thing is, Miller and Casey don’t remember where Chang lives. From breaking into sorority houses, to a stampeding buffalo, to a multi-level drinking contest, the three guys constantly get into trouble and avoid death. If you’ve seen ‘The Hangover’ or ‘Old School’, you can figure out how the rest of the plot goes.
What makes this particular raunchy comedy work are its three main leads. They’re all likable in one way or another. In the end, the movie’s about true friendship and what friends would do for each other. Chon really stands out when he’s coherent, and I’d love to see him do more comedy. He’s very funny playing that friend who’s had too much to drink. His physical comedy is amazing.
’21 and Over’ is silly and stupid, but tons of fun and chock full of laughs, nudity, alcohol and a lot of heart, even despite its clichéd scenes. I’m sure that this won’t get as much attention as the films I mentioned above, mostly due to the lack of big name actors, but I’d like to think of this as the younger brother of those iconic movies, a brother ready to grow into something bigger with a set-up sequel.