Sunday, March 10, 2013

21 and Over

Honestly, I was not particularly excited to see 21 and Over this past weekend, but I really wanted to see a movie. After a tough week of studying for an awful test, I deserved to get what I wanted. Seriously. Anyway, the movie was sold as an over-the-top, sexed-up drinking fest with a focus on laughing at over-the-top, sexed-up, drunk things. So, obviously, that's what I was expecting as I headed into the theater. After The Hangover became such a huge hit, R-rated comedies took over the comedic film world and have held their reign to this point. These films tend to compete on the basis of "who can be the most immoral," so that is what we have come to expect. I remember back in high school, when I would get so excited over a PG-13 comedy, but, honestly, I can't think of the last PG-13 comedy I enjoyed, mostly because they are so rare nowadays. Thankfully, films like 21 and Over come along to entertain with immorality. Or so I thought...

We all know that one guy or girl that only lives life on the wild side because it is what everyone else is doing. Regardless of their true self, they want to fit in with the party crowd. 21 and Over is that guy! The previews may have been selling an R-rated, over-the-top comedy, but the film itself was a PG-13 movie trying to fit in with the R-rated party crowd. I'm not saying that being a PG-13 film is always a bad thing. I'm just saying that it wasn't what I expected from a film that wanted to compare itself to The Hangover. The plot was extremely stupid and unrealistic, and, really, the story would have lasted only about twenty minutes, if the 21st century college students would have had a cellphone! Sure, there were plenty of laughs along the way, but very few that were shockingly hilarious, as we've come to expect with recent R-rated films. Not to be overly critical of the film as a whole, but I'm pretty sure that I could have written a story at least ten times better than the one they were dealing with here.

While the plot was complete crap, I actually enjoyed the main characters much more than I had expected. Although the characters were not at all flawless, they were actually relatable, most likely because of my similar place in life. They were a bit overly emotional, but, with absolutely zero stars in the film, the character success came as a surprise to me.

Nicole, played by Sarah Wright, was the useless and awkward love interest of Skylar Astin's Casey. Every moment that she was on screen, I felt like the storyline became more and more dull. I don't know why a film about one drunken night needed an overnight love story. However, the worst performance/villain was Francois Chau, as the father of Jeff Chang (Chinese Doug). Chau, who I have a special LOST connection to, was not at all scary, funny, or much of anything that he was supposed to be, and I found that quite disappointing. Finally, Randy, played by Jonathan Kultz, just wasn't as funny as he could have been. The character had great potential for hilarity, but Kultz just couldn't pull it off.

While the three main characters weren't the greatest of all time, they each had some great funny moments, and, as I said, they were quite relatable. Miles Teller, Skylar Astin, and Justin Chon were perfect for their roles as Miller, Casey, and Jeff Chang. Just the sheer fact that they ALWAYS called him his full name, "Jeff Chang" was probably the funniest aspect of the entire film. On top of the comedic antics, the interaction among the three characters was really nice and made me realize just how my relationship with my high school friends has changed since graduating. Oddly enough, they made me self-reflective, something you rarely expect from an R-rated comedy.

As the first 2013 comedy that I have seen, 21 and Over was not extremely satisfying or disappointing. I am quite hopeful that many funnier movies will come along this year, but this film met my expectations, for the most part. On the comedic side, it was funnier than I had expected, yet the comedy lacked in extremity. The story was absolutely illogical and not really that exciting, but the characters were funny and had way more depth than you would have ever expected. I would not encourage you to watch 21 and Over, unless, like me, you enjoy almost every R-rated comedy, just because you like to laugh. Nevertheless, I give 21 and Over 2.23 out of 5 stars.

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