‘21 and Over’ full of tasteless humor

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, March 20, 2013

by Lauren Bradshaw

If you like tasteless humor, “21 and Over,” written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (“The Hangover”), is the movie for you. On the other hand, if you like movies that actually make funny jokes and have original plot points, you will certainly want to sit this one out. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy raunchy jokes, but they at least need to be funny. What the movie instead develops into is a Hangover rip-off full of incredibly racist, sexist, and bigoted jokes. I finally reached my limit of tolerance when the characters made Bosnian War rape jokes. Hopefully this summer’s tent-pole comedies “Hangover III” and “The Heat” will put Hollywood back in the right direction.

“21 and Over” begins where the movie inevitably ends, childhood best friends Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylar Astin) walking through a college campus completely nude, save a sock over their more private areas. The two are in town to celebrate their other friend Jeff Chang ‘s (Jason Chon), 21st birthday. Only, when they arrive, Jeff informs them that he has an interview for medical school the next day and doesn’t want to go out. Miller and Casey easily change his mind and a night of debauchery begins, full of vengeful sorority girls, a buffalo, and a mysterious gun (and that’s only the beginning of it). When Jeff gets way too drunk and passes out, Miller and Casey set out on a quest to find his house, all while dragging him around Weekend at Bernie’s style. Of course, this journey also comes with many silly side-missions and encounters with “villains”.

While I enjoy the three main actors (Miles Teller was fantastic in Rabbit Hole and Skylar Astin showed he is a triple-threat in Pitch Perfect), their characters are generic and poorly written. As in many recent comedies, there is a Raunchy Spice (Miller), Straight-laced Spice (Casey), and Innocent, Yet Easily Corrupted Spice (Jeff). The actors did the best they could with a bad script, full of poor jokes and inconsistencies. For example, during most of the movie Jeff Chang is basically in an alcohol-induced coma, but then magically awakens in time to drunkenly drive a car through the college campus. Word to the wise: Binge drinking and drunk driving, while joking about suicide and rape, is not an easy way for a character to relate to the audience.

The only thing worse than the main characters was the group of “villains”, a horde of Latina sorority girls, male cheerleaders (who of course had homosexual undertones), and Jeff Chang’s strict father. The movie became even more ridiculous, if possible, through all the ways these villains would reemerge and mess things up. The action of the film had enough conflict without these horrible contrivances.

The main takeaway from this movie is if you are going to be raunchy and shocking, you have to also be funny. Unfortunately, humor is what this film is lacking. Probably my favorite part of 21 and Over, besides the end, is that the filmmakers have already set it up for a sequel. Please… please don’t let there be a sequel (unless it’s focused on the only interesting character in the movie, Chief).

My Review: D-/F.