Do you remember when you first turned 21? Do you remember that great feeling when you walked up to a bar or club and they asked to see your ID? After being turned away with your fake ID time and again you can finally say something like, “In your face Dick Tracey!” Perhaps you then went on to have a night to remember, or in some cases, a night you can’t remember for the life of you. If it’s the latter then maybe the new comedy “21 and Over” will bring some of those memories back (for better or for worse).
When the childhood friends of Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) want to take him out to celebrate his 21st birthday he declines because he has a huge interview to get into medical school the following morning. After a little prodding, “You go out and drink, it is a sacred rite of passage”, Jeff agrees to go out for just a short time. That turns into an all-night bender and when Jeff passes out, his friends Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) have no idea where he lives to get him home in time for Jeff’s overbearing father (Francois Chau) to take him to the interview.
“21 and Over” was written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writers of “The Hangover”. This is their first try at directing. They obviously choose material they are well acquainted with and those looking to see a raunchy, debauchery filled comedy will not be disappointed. Some jokes go so over the top that it may make you cringe or even look away from the screen because the filmmakers “went there”.
One of the reasons “The Hangover” was so successful was that you really like the character dynamics. The characters in “21 and Over” may not be as likable as the ones in “The Hangover”; however, these are three friends who look out for one another and will go out of their way to help each other out. A good heart is often missing from these types of comedies. Casey and Miller start to discover things about Jeff they never knew before and you can see how concerned they get. A small mystery develops from this, which is a nice addition to the story.
Sometimes, when you have co-directors, a movie can come across as a little uneven. While that is not a problem here, there are some things Lucas and Scott need to learn if they want to continue this new avenue of their careers. The editing is jarring at times because characters are not in the same positions they were from shot to shot. This is a fun movie, but it takes some time to find its center. It gets better as it goes along.
If bad language offends you, stay away from “21 and Over”. So many F-bombs are dropped in the opening minutes of the movie it may have broken a record. The audience this movie is intended for will not be disappointed and for right now it is the best comedy of 2013. It is rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs and drinking.