Craig's Movie Breakdown: "21 And Over"


Craig's Movie Breakdown: "21 And Over"

The Lead-Up:

For those who don’t know, “21 and Over” was the surprise of Sundance last year, taking home top prizes in…no, I’m kidding. This is actually the brain-child of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, writers of “The Hangover” and its sequel, looking to milk the concept of hedonism for all its worth for yet another movie. Perhaps the most unique thing about it is that Chinese studios requested changes to the film before it could even be shown in China, changing the American-born Asian character into an exchange student who gets corrupted by our western ways and goes back to China a better person, presumably hoping that his dumb-ass friends from this film end up going into politics, insuring that our debt continues to rise and make it all the easier for China to buy us.

The Plot:

College student Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is turning 21 on the eve of his big medical school interview, something that his stern, joyless father (Francois Chau) is putting tremendous pressure on him to pass. You know what that means! His friends Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) take him out for a couple beers and soon they’re dragging a passed out Jeff all over the place and realizing that their friend may be in a bit of trouble.

The Review:

When I look back on the movies about my generation, will I feel any sense of pride about them? The answer is probably not many. Rather than define us, its been a constant struggle to out-do what came before when it comes to rudeness and crudeness and "21 and Over" is just another in a line of crappy offerings. "Super-bad" this is not, more like super aggravating. This is the type of film where a character gets really drunk and then pisses on a bunch of people in a bar, the type of film where the guys break into a sorority and take advantage of the girls with kinky sexual acts, the type where they destroy property and can't be funny without using a lot of profanity or mistaking offensive stereotyping for joking around. And its all done in the name of fun because Hollywood for some reason has defined this garbage as some kind of rite of passage and not the makings of a completely bankrupt generation of morons.

These kids are at the intersection between figuring out what to do with their lives and getting all the heavy partying they can out of their system, which is about all the reality the movie needs apparently. Now lets get that Asian kid to vomit in slo-motion, then eat a tampon and then lets throw him off a couple buildings and then lets super-glue a teddy bear on to his dick which will later have to be pulled off and in the mean time lets throw in a shameless scene where the sorority girls get revenge on the guys by ass-paddling them and then making them kiss because apparently even college girls are homophobic and don’t have a thinking part of their body above the vagina, which can be attributed to Lucas and Moore’s credit as screenwriters. The only thing that really works well here is a multi-level beer pong tournament at a fraternity, not because its funny, but because it gave me a break from loathing everything else that happens on screen.

Probably the funniest thing here is that within all this crap, Moore and Lucas try to shoe-horn in a story about the pressures of college sometimes leading to suicide attempts, and that friends are sometimes forced to suffer alone. It’s like the movie begins being sad in one way, the thought that my generation may be nothing more than a bunch of crude, obnoxious, spoiled assholes, and then touches on a complete other sadness that really has no place in a comedy. It's a depressing movie is what i'm trying to say.

So where does that leave the acting? It kinda made me think of that quote from “Waiting for Superman” about how we finish nearly last in education but first in confidence. These guys all seem to have the enthusiasm for the roles, especially Chon, who has no problem humiliating himself, and Teller was actually in last year’s ode to dumb teenagers “Project X”…so, uh, I guess he’s getting some enjoyment out of it. And Sarah Wright, playing Casey’s love interest, is perky, cute, and sounds like the only thing she’s ever studied are the philosophies of Ferris Bueller, just another reminder that these characters are so afraid of not being seen as fun that any humanity, intelligence or 3-dimensionality are absent.

“21 and Over” is terribly dumb, witless, and unlikable. Nothing about it is funny. The one line that even comes close to a joke, “Nice tie, you look like Joseph Gordon Leavitt” (you know, cause he wears ties in films sometimes), is a pretty solid indication of the effort that was put into the crafting of the laughs. Here’s hoping that people stay away from this one, or else we may get “22 and Over”.

1.5 out of 5 Stars