21 & Over – 1 out of 5
I’m not entirely sure who the audience was for this college party film but I clearly wasn’t it. Maybe if you’re a fan of predictable, brash, racist, homophobic, sexist and all-around douchy humor, then this might be your film. If you watched the completely unlikeable characters be gigantic dicks in the painfully hard to sit through Project X and thought, “Hey, those guys are my type of bros!” then you might like this film. Essentially, if you use the word “bro” and all of its variants and slangs, than you are the audience for this film…and should probably consider dropping using words like “bro,” “broheim,” and “brah” and contribute towards the betterment of mankind rather than continue to knock us down several dozen pegs on the evolutionary scale.
21 & Over is about three friends who are either unfunny and whose presence in the film is just a plot device and nothing more, unfunny but seem to have a somewhat decent head on his shoulders when it’s convenient for the plot but the rest of the time is a brain dead doofus who makes all his decisions on whether they will end up giving him gray hairs and an ulcer and deciding that that's the course to take or the unfunny last friend who is probably the cousin/brother/secret lover of the curly haired douche who I wanted to get run over by a truck in Project X; with the exception that his rampant homophobia, misogyny and racism is toned down from an 11 to a 9.
|They threw in a shirtless fat guy into the movie. That's the level of quality|
this movie is giving us with its comedy.
Well, these three friends get together to celebrate the 21st birthday of Jeff Chang (Justin Chon—and if you ever forget the character’s name, just wait a second because the friends only refer to him by his full name and it’s two of the two dozen words that are repeated over and over again and are probably the only two dozen words written in the script). Chang has an important interview in the morning but decides against doing the responsible thing like not go out and decides to live it up with booze being shoved down his gullet by his pals Casey (Skylar Astin—the one who, sometimes, is the level-headed one) and Miller (Miles Teller—the one who you will pray for a slow and painful death every time he speaks). Predictably (because originality wasn’t something they were aiming for in this film), the trio end up getting into some trouble that, if it was real life, wouldn’t have been that complicated but these characters show they have the problem solving skills of a mentally retarded chimp (actually less so) so the pointlessly insurmountable task of getting their friend home to get some sleep becomes a Tetris game of shit building up higher and higher without a straight line in sight to cut down on some of the buildup and all you keep getting is those damn Z-shaped pieces of spite! Oh, and since this is your by-the-numbers party misadventure movie, there is a scene with the guys causing an animal to make some trouble (and not your usual monkey but a buffalo rather—so, I guess there was at least a little originality there) and there’s also an incredibly pointless love story thrown in.
|"Everybody run, it's a cliche 'animal run amok' scene that's in almost all party films."|
In case you haven’t guessed it from my synopsis filled with snark and scathing comments about the three incredibly terrible characters who all seem to have the makings of future Glenn Beck-watching conspiracy theorists who complain about how our black president is trying to take away our guns by faking awful tragedies (I don’t know about you but all the biggest party animals I graduated college and high school with—the ones in love with drugs, booze and unprotected sex—went on to become Conservatives who talk about how our county is a moral sewer and turn a blatant blind eye to the fact they put up the bricks and mortal for that sewer) and through reading all this and all my ramblings (like that last one about Conservatives), you may have picked up that I didn’t like this film. And that’s not true.
I fucking hated it.
I have nothing against party films (except Project X—that one killed a lot of my happy receptors in my brain) but to make a good party film you need to have your party characters be fun and likeable—basically they need to be people you want to party with. The three characters in this film are the exact type of people I actively avoid. And not just because each and every single one of them seems like they carry roofies in a PEZ dispenser around in their pockets at all times and probably have a lifetime supply of Axe body spray—basically the type of dudes who call geeks like me “faggot.” Beyond my own preconceived prejudices I have with these archetypes, all three of them exhibited behavior that should be punished by electroshock to the testicles and not rewarded. All three of them are the type that fill you with contempt and make you sigh when you see them at the bar or party in real life.
|Yes, we've all seen these types and only the ones who don't immediately leave|
the bar are the ones who find them "cool." But cool is relative here because the same
ones who find them cool are the ones who have very loose definitions of "rape."
First off, Jeff Chang, the man who’s big night the entire film revolves around, is barely a character in the film. You get to see him engage in “hilarious” drinking activities (or about as hilarious as this unoriginal P.O.S. gets) and then you see him passed out for the rest of the film. They try to give him some character at the end but it is so ridiculously out of place that it becomes the film’s only funny moment. Was I really suppose to feel any sympathy for the guy who says he has too much stress in his life after watching him eat a tampon and run around campus with a teddy bear glued to his dick? (Oops, was that a spoiler for the bad comedy in this one?)
|"I had no presence beyond just being a plot device the entire film but now...|
I have feelings."
Casey is meant to be the “smart” one of the group and looks like he has his life in order for a boring Wall Street-esque job. However, he’s only smart in retrospect and concedes that everything they have done that night was foolish but showed no real signs of resistance when said stupid activities were put forth into fruition.
Finally, you have Miller, the scum of scum in the group. Everything about this man is just reviling. He talks to women like their only real purpose is to do his bidding and be his sexual conquests, he frequently makes racist comments and is an asshole to everyone. This character was so deplorable that I found myself hating the actor who played him just because of the association with actor/character (not that he was that good in the role in general; varying emotions seemed like a foreign concept to him). Was I really suppose to root for this man, movie? In fact, when a scene involved him almost getting his ass kicked, I wanted to see him lose that fight and possibly suffer some grievous injuries because he embodied everything that is wrong with the world. This entitled little shitbag of a human being is so insufferable that when the movie tries to force some dramatic tension between the friends and they nearly experience a friendship breakup moment, I had hoped that they would not reconcile because these three are the perfect storm of douchebaggery and if they split, it would mean a merciful end to a terribly unfunny movie.
|My apologies to anyone who just put their fist through their monitor after looking|
at this asshat's face.
Words fail me trying to fully express just how little I laughed while watching 21 & Over. If it was possible for a movie to have a series of jokes so poorly thought out or just flat-out recycled from other (often better movies) that they could figuratively could travel through time and space to collect laughs I gave out to better productions throughout my life and pulled them back into my body as if reality itself feared this film would make me never laugh again—if that was possible, this would be the movie that could accomplish such a cosmic feat.
|"It wasn't funny the first time but maybe if we add another, hairier, shirtless|
fat guy it'll be funny." - The writers.
Most of the jokes are gags you’ve seen time and time again in other party films like The Hangover (which was written by the guys who did this one and it acted as their directorial debut—clearly, they had a deadline and were mainlining meth and Jolt soda to pump this one out in exactly…probably…30 seconds) and the rest of the time the writers believe that by ending a sentence in “fuck,” or one of its many derivatives, than that qualifies as a joke. The phrase “suck my dick” also was, foolish, believed to be both the set-up and the punch line. I have nothing against profanity but profanity in and of itself does not constitute a joke. I can’t get up on stage at Zanies in Chicago and just say, “Tits” and expect to get true, gut-laughter from the audience. All I would get is some nervous laughter from the people who anticipate more to come. I imagine that a majority of those who have seen this movie had the same reaction.
|"Howdy, we're delivery unfunny drunkenness straight to your door!"|
Everything about this film, when it's not screaming obscenities and laughing because they said, “shit,” or not “borrowing” concepts, scenes and themes from other films (like a kid getting into a dangerous substance-fueled bender the day before a life-altering event like an interview—we have seen that a million times and seen it done better like in Harold & Kumar)—when the movie isn’t busy with this, it is just screaming about how obviously generic it is. Going back into my memory, I’m hard-pressed to try and remember any significant scene that was truly unique, interesting or even mildly amusing but all I can remember is a love story pointlessly blossoming like an ugly flower made of dirt in pot full of more dirt between Casey and a generic blond-haired, blued eyed sorority sister that looks no different than the millions of generic blond-haired, blued eyed sorority sisters you see wandering around in sweatpants on a typical college campus and Miller playing Racist Bingo and using every scene to come up with the most stereotypes he can.
|Even here, he's trying to come up with something offensive about Canadians.|
No one is safe from this douche bag.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older now and my idea of a good party is having a bunch of friends over for a bonfire or cookout and doing anything to excess just looks sad or maybe it’s just because this movie isn’t funny in the least but 21 & Over is a gleaming example of how bad a comedy can get when you take out effort, decent writing and actors and characters you actually care about.