The Hangover-like 21 And Over smells like Hangover, looks like Hangover, and is almost just as funny.
When a hipster film like 21 And Over makes its appearance in theaters, it can't help but be linked to its parents - the eminently-satisfying Hangover - or any number of slightly lesser but just as satisfying efforts over the past decade. Over doesn't forge new territory, nor does it do anything bigger or better than Hangover, but it seems very content in the role of providing moviegoers with as raunchy an entertainment experience as possible.
Miller (Miles Teller), Casey (Skyler Astin), and Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) are high-school buddies who've taken very different paths since graduation: Miller is the college dropout, happy to party first and ask questions later, while straight man Casey seems more ready to be 40 than experiencing the best years of his life. Both arrive to surprise Chang on his 21st birthday, unaware that their friend's life is in freefall. Chang's controlling father (Francois Chow) wants him to attend medical school, and Chang himself is on the edge of suicide. After Chang becomes drunk thanks to Miller's seemingly constant feeding of booze, Miller and Casey forget where Chang lives, touching off a hunt to get him home and sobered up before his medical school interview in the morning. Cue hilarity for the next 70 minutes, including a Raid: Redemption-like drinking game ascension up several levels of a party, requiring Casey and Miller to 'pass' each floor in order to meet a college RA who might know Chang's address, as well as the opening scene of a naked Miller and Casey donning socks on their privates, bruises on their butts, and a sorority brand on their left cheek. Yes, we mean that cheek.
If you walk into 21 And Over expecting something new from Hangover writers/co-conspirators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, you'll be seriously disappointed. If instead one seeks a comedy that you'll find laughing at more than want to admit, your hard-earned cash will not have been spent in vain. Unlike other comedies this Winter, Over succeeds at being what it's good at: over-the-top raunchy with just enough story and clever editing to keep you awake between the serious scenes. Even Casey's love interest Nicole (Sarah Wright) and the constant use of John's full name are merely bridges to the next sicko joke that are fun to watch, although the idea of gluing private parts to teddy bears seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Luckily, Lucas and Moore never use Chang's suicidal behavior as a soapbox on the very real dangers that our colleges have become. Teller and Astin don't turn in Cooper/Galifianakis-like roles, but their tomfoolery and command of bar games are strangely familiar.
21 And Over is silly, stupid, college-level hi-jinks that in totality provide for an extremely funny diversion. Settle in for a great time, but be prepared to see more private man parts than female ones. Some of you ladies might suggest it's about time - my churning stomach wanted to say something very different upon seeing them at all. 21 and Over is obviously rated R for almost everything imaginable (except money shots) and has a runtime of 93 minutes.
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