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21 & Over: BD Review

Jul 26th, 2013

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Is it stupid? Of course it is. Will you giggle once or twice? Of course you will...

Fox / 93 Minutes / 2013 / Rated R / Street Date: June 18, 2013

It’s Jeff Chang’s 21st birthday, and if Casey and Miller have anything to say about it, it’s gonna be ri-donk-culous. Just to ensure there’s a sliver of narrative peril at hand, Jeff has a particularly important test he has to take the morning after his big day, but until then, his bros are going to surround him with as much booze and tail as they can.

In true Hangover style (the screenwriters here were responsible for that smash, as well), things begin in 21 & Over with youthful zest and drunken élan: our trio has too many, they pee on things, yell profanities at inappropriate figures of authority, barf in shrubs – it’s all fun and games. But when, through their unsober fog, Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) decide that they need to take their passed-out birthday boy back home so he can sleep it off in time for test day, the movie’s big dilemma gets posed: they don’t know where they are or where Jeff Chang lives.

The resulting trek across campus and through the beautiful city of Seattle is predictably riddled with minefields. Our boys eventually have to compete in a drinking contest that will, presumably, get them where they want to go, but before they do that, they stumble across weird-ass character after weird-ass character, and even have to come this close to banging each other in front of a deep-hazing set of sorority sisters who take deviant pleasure in watching naked straight dudes fondle one another.

Yes, 21 & Over is full of embarrassment nudity and often grotesque bodily functions, and as a dramatic vehicle, it’s implicitly by-the-numbers, but I’d be lying if I said the thing wasn’t marginally entertaining. It’s not a film that’s worth defending in any major regard – I can think of ten films that scratch the itch in exactly the same fashion –but dumbshit comedies are an important subgenre in American filmmaking, and even if 21 & Over is as mediocre as it gets, it passes the time. 

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