"21 And Over" Movie Review: It Tries and Fails to Be "The Hangover" For Millennials
In my 25 years on this earth, I have never felt so old as I did watching 21 and Over. This movie is absolutely juvenile, with a laugh to groan ratio so deep in the negatives that I was thrilled when the credits finally started to roll. I found myself asking over and over again, "is this really what I found funny when I was in high school?"
From start to finish, 21 and Over is full of racist, obnoxious, crude, and downright idiotic jokes, delivered with no regard to comedic timing. Don't get me wrong, I love a crude racist joke as much as the next guy, but only if it's funny. Saying that the Chinese don't understand America because they haven't been in this country a "rong time," or asking "Serbs" not to "rape us and take our land" is not funny, it's just stupid. Even the most offensive comedians of late, namely Daniel Tosh and Anthony Jeselnik of Comedy Central, understand that you need clever lines, solid delivery, and a hint of tongue-in-cheek irony to pull off a racially charged bit without just looking like an asshole.
95% of the humor in this pathetic excuse for a comedy comes from people saying things that would only be funny to the most immature of 8th graders, the kind who still giggle when someone gets called a "cock-licker." Get it? It's funny because of the vulgarity and implied homosexuality. One of the most embarrassingly ignorant scenes in the movie (which I have no problem spoiling because no one should see this garbage), happens after Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylar Austin) are finally brought to justice by a Latina sorority house. Having earlier duped two female pledges into making out with each other, which of course was "super-hot," the bros are forced to lock lips as recompense for their misdeeds. Naturally, this is the worst punishment imaginable, and they say they would rather be branded with a hot iron than go through with it. For those of you keeping score at home, that's Girls Making Out: "Hot," Guys Making Out: "Worse than a third degree burn and a permanent scar."
I won't even bother dressing down the abundance of plot holes, nonsensical resolutions, and physical impossibilities, because it was immediately obvious that the "masterminds" behind this film had zero respect for their audience's intelligence. With such puerile humor overflowing from every scene, it would have been equally ignorant for me to expect anything resembling a coherent narrative. While The Hangover was a well-crafted story that unfolded in a refreshing way, its kid brother 21 and Over was slapdash at best. The obligatory, tacked-on, Hollywood romance was so hamfisted that I actually felt sorry for anyone young and stupid enough to mistake it for the way relationships develop in the real world.
As for the acting, Miles Teller, who serves as what I must begrudgingly refer to as the driving force of the humor, displays the comedic deftness of a drunk guy who grabs the mic at a wedding and tells a story about the groom's trip to Tijuana. Even the few remotely clever lines were butchered by his half-Robin Williams (on his worst days), half-Andrew Dice Clay delivery. I downright pitied Sarah Wright, who fans of intelligent comedy might recognize as Millicent Gergich from Parks and Recreation. She's so out place in this movie that you could almost feel her regret about being involved coming through the screen.
21 and Over is, overall, an embarrassment for the comedy genre. I chuckled maybe twice in 90 minutes, and rolled my eyes in disgust at least a dozen times. The absolute worst part was the very end, which made it seem like they are setting up for a sequel. I can only hope that Hollywood will realize its mistake and pull the plug, but really, what are odds of that?