Movie Review: ’21 and Over’

In Theaters

“21 and Over,” written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, 93 minutes, rated R.

The writing duo of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore has become notorious for their unfunny comedies with tired premises such as “Four Christmases,” “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” “The Hangover,” “The Change-Up,” and the list could go on. Needless to say, the pair’s latest effort and directorial debut, “21 and Over,” fits in nicely with their previous efforts.

This time around, Lucas and Moore take a crack at college life, reuniting friends Miller (Miles Teller), Casey (Skyler Astin) and Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) on the night of Jeff’s 21st birthday. Unfortunately for the trio, Jeff puts the kibosh on the excessive drinking and partying that is a rite of passage for most freshly minted 21-year-olds, so that he can be ready for his medical school interview the next day.

Miller, a pushy underachiever who suffers from a severe case of verbal diarrhea, convinces Jeff to go out for just one drink. One drink leads to another, however, and before the friends know it, Jeff Chang is trashed, passed out being carried on the shoulders of Miller and straight-laced Casey, who can’t remember Jeff Chang’s address. Lost, and quickly running out of time, the two conscious friends futilely try to get Jeff Chang home at a reasonable hour, so that he can take his med school interview the next morning, and all three can avoid the wrath of Jeff’s father (Francois Chau), whom the boys regard as the scariest man alive.

The whole thing is a like a college-aged “Hangover” that borrows heavily from “Weekend at Bernie’s,” as Jeff Chang gets these sporadic moments of energy, running away or drunkenly dancing naked on top of cars, just to further complicate the situation. It’s a flimsy plot device to go with a story that serves as nothing more than an excuse to make a party movie. It’s too bad the friends’ wild night isn’t all that entertaining.

I’ll give credit to Lucas and Moore, in that they capture the dialogue of this generation, creating conversations between Casey and Miller that are true-to-life. Unlike a lot of movies that take place in college or high school, the script doesn’t sound like an imitation. Though, it would help if the characters were funnier. Teller makes his best effort as Miller, but his everyday charm wears off about five minutes into the film, and he speaks so much that, after a while, you actually begin to tune him out.

“21 and Over” is all the things you’d expect it to be: Immature, stupid and lazy. Sadly, it might appeal to some people in its target demographic, but outside of that, there’s not a lot going on here.

Grade: D+

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