21 and OverThursday 02 May 2013
Director: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Starring: Justin Chon, Skyler Astin, Miles Teller, Sarah Wright, Francois Chau
Duration: 93 minutes
It's been a long hangover from The Hangover. Four years on, we're still waiting for a movie to equal its bawdy-to-the-max genius and I-never-want-this-to-end magic. (And after the non-event that was Part II, this month's Part III should begin with a piece-to-camera apology.)
But if ever two men looked right for the job they were Jon Lucas and Scott Moore: they wrote The Hangover (they weren't responsible for Part II) and the campus-centred 21 and Over marks their debut as writer-directors. It has a likeable cast and a good, Hangover-recalling, Weekend at Bernie's-meets-Adventures in Babysitting set-up, but 21 and Over gets a 'D' in that most important of areas: Lucas and Moore haven't come up with enough good jokes.
On the eve of his med school interview, Jeff Chang (Twilight's Chon) turns 21 and is visited by his two best, but now rarely seen friends, sensible one Casey (Pitch Perfect's Astin) and let's-start-a-war loudmouth Miller (Project X's Teller).
With a tyrant of a father (Chau), Jeff needs to have an early night, but Miller has other ideas - and it's not long before Jeff has too. One bar becomes another round of shots becomes another sticky situation and soon Jeff has joined the ranks of The Walking Dead, with his two chaperones having absolutely no recollection of his address on campus. The clock is ticking and never mind about Jeff's future, there's Chang Senior to worry about...
There's an Irish video shop circa 1986 vibe to 21 and Over, the kind of movie that back then wouldn't have made it to cinemas here but suddenly appeared on the shelves to remind 15-year-old boys of the joys that would await - hot blondes, girl-on-girl spanking, runaway buffalo, golf buggy escapes - if they did well in the Leaving (if the above happened you in college please write in and let us know).
Even back then, though, I've-seen-everything-in-this-shop kids would've been savvy enough to know that it wasn't as good as that film Animal House or Porky's. In 2013, only 12-year-olds would watch 21 and Over twice - and they'd still have the smarts to tell you that there needed to be more screen and plot-time for Jeff Chang's dad, that the ending is a letdown and that the race gags are as uncool as they are unnecessary.
For the real, 16-18 target age group there is a good message here about sharing problems and staying true to yourself, but it's not as powerful as the one about making every scene in a comedy as funny and memorable as it can possibly be.
While you may not have had crazier nights out, you've definitely laughed more on them - even aged 12.