Title: 21 and Over
Directed and Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Starring: Skylar Astin, Justin Chon, Miles Teller, Sarah Wright, Francois Chow, Nothing Funny
I’ve never been a big fan of John Hughes and his mountain of teen comedies, except for maybe Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. For whatever the reason, his style never worked for me. Yet the one thing I can give Hughes is that he at least tried to tell stories of how it was to be an awkward teen. Yes, music will blare over a scene, and he can be schmaltzy, but for the most part, there’s a real heart to his teen comedies.
I mention this because 21 And Over doesn’t have heart, and nor does it want to. The newest comedy from Hangover brainchildren Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, 21 And Over feels like the third act of 2009?s surprise comedy gone horribly, horribly wrong. I don’t mean that nicely, as this film shouldn’t be considered such a thing. This feels like a form of torture, something that would be shown in a POW camp or in the detainee program a few years back.
While the film features many, many things that make it a test of one’s sanity, the main thing this comedy forgets to bring is something called funny. Every single attempt at humor is a miss, opting to be gross or poorly delivered. Humor needs to have a build to it, but not to Lucas and Moore. They swing for the fences when the ball is five feet away from the strike zone. JeffChang (played by Justin Chon) runs around through the streets in women’s clothes, as if it’s supposed to be funny. There’s no punchline to it, no reason for it, and it comes off flat and stupid.
Perhaps the humor would be tolerable if we’re allowed to give a flying fart about any of the characters. Miles Teller’s Miller is supposed to be the annoying, loveable loser of the group, and instead you want to pop him like a zit on prom night. His co-stars don’t help him, with Skylar Astin seemingly being told to stand there and look handsome throughout the whole film. Astin, Teller, and the aforementioned Chon aren’t to blame really, as they have no characters to play off of. Moore and Lucas probably just pressed the red button on the cameras and just filmed whatever idiocy came to be, hoping for the best. As they say; wish in one hand, excrement in the other.
21 and Over wants to be the drunken quest movie, but it’s really the retarded step-cousin of Miss March. Were the movie actually giving a damn about anything, it’d be a bit easier to give it a pass on things. To their credit, Miller might be the perfect embodiment of the film as a whole. He’s an annoying, unfunny, uncaring asshole who thinks everything he does is hilarious and he should be worshiped. If your cinematic taste is currently suffers self-esteem issues, then this film is right up your alley. For anyone who actually has what’s referred to as taste, then run far away from this film.