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When Straight-A college student Jeff Chang's two best friends take him out for his 21st birthday on the night before an important medical school interview, what was supposed to be a quick beer becomes a night of humiliation, over indulgence and utter debauchery. Written by
21 & Over is the Wedding Crashers of 2013...and thats a GREAT Thing
In the United States, when a person turns 21, that time is usually land marked with instances filled with excitement thanks to the upcoming adventures of maturing, independence, self- discovery and of course you know what, all crap aside, its the day to just get stupid drunk and act a fool like its nobody's business.
Like anybody planning to sleep in a catharsis of vomit and food consumed from the afternoon, 21 & Over is a raunchy, absurd, highly energetic and overly confident comedy that unapologetically assaults its audience members with inappropriateness from beginning to end.
On the day of Jeff Chang's (Justin Chon) 21st birthday, his old friends Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) show up to his residence on campus. Adamant to get him drunk despite a very important medical meeting the next morning that Dr. Chang (François Chau) had arranged, Casey and Miller convince Jeff Chang to go out and party. What starts off with just a few drinks and a bit of misdirection turns out to be a rip-roaring journey into the dark corners of Jeff Chang's college campus.
Where 21 & Over succeeds and other movies like it fail is in the underlying themes and chemistry. In so many coming of age stories, most notably Project X last year, the friendships that were tested were not tested on the basis of any change. Oh sure, a house was destroyed and a neighbourhood was in complete chaos, but what did it matter to the protagonists? In 21 & Over, each one of the three friends are facing the biggest issues of their lives, growing up. Often longer for some people, sometimes a lot quicker and at times unknowingly to others, the theme of growing up is the quintessential magic formula for coming of age romp-comedies. Just look at one of the best comedies of the last decade Wedding Crashers and how that theme was explored with over-sized children as adults.
The chemistry in 21 & Over is spot-on. Miles Teller is reminiscent of a young Vince Vaughan and his wildly fast-talking antics drives most of the ridiculous comedy forward with ease. Skylar Astin much like his previous role in Pitch Perfect, serves as a worthy counterpart to Teller and the eye candy for female audience members to flock to theatres.
If there is one thing that makes me mad about 21 & Over and the previous writing efforts of the comedic writing duo Jon Lucas and Scott Moore is how simple their script ideas are yet how well done their narratives and plot points are. Penning the first two Hangover films, it angers me to think how simple the premise for all their hits were and why I couldn't think of it myself. It seems like the writing duo have a knack for exploiting the obvious yet unexplored on film, adding a lot of fun in the mix.
21 & Over is an outrageously fun time at the movies. Although the film may not be for everyone, 21 & Over is a flashback of so many times when the images on screen are so reminiscent of some of the stupid things that may have happened to you, at one point or another. Don't deny it, just laugh and enjoy the ride. Just like what Jeff Chang's yells at the bouncer before getting in, "21 blackjack motherf@&$er!". Its not denying that 21 & Over is definitely a sloppy winner!
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