wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
The directorial debut of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore – writers of The Hangover – 21 & Over is a film that tries to be in the same vein as the former, but fails quite miserably. Mostly inane, sometimes indifferently bad and very, very rarely amusing, it can easily be avoided in favour of mowing the lawn or recounting the alphabet backward instead.Read more
There is no dearth of morons in this world, and clearly, there is a whole genre of films that tries to show how much fun it is to have a laugh at a moron’s expense. 21 & Over has its fair share of moronic characters, but is a consistently unfunny film packed with gags that were outdated this time last century. An exhausting comedy that tries its best to channel similar films in the genre – The Hangover, Superbad, American Pie and the likes – but failing quite miserably, 21 & Over is the kind of film that makes 93 minutes seem like an eternity. Surprisingly enough, the film is written by and is the debut directorial effort of the writers of The Hangover, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.
Jeff Chang has just turned 21, and his oldest buddies - the obnoxiously in-your-face Miller and the nerdy aspiring-Wall-Street-guy Casey – land up at his doorstep after years being out of touch, to take him pub-hopping and to generally show him a good time. Except that Jeff Chang has a career-defining interview the very next morning, and his father is in absolutely no mood to let him do anything that would jeopardize his interview and his career. Not that anything is going to stop Jeff Chang’s friends, Miller in particular, from having their way. Then begins a night of migraine-inducing silliness that never seems to end.
Apart from a few moments in the film that you can’t help be amused by, the film is very clearly trying too hard. True, Miles Teller, Skylar Astin and Justin Chon - who play Miller, Casey and Jeff Chang respectively – manage to keep their energy levels consistently high. But there is only so much that an enthusiastic cast can do, when the writer-directors are finding it so hard to rise above banality. The film primarily relies on stereotypes and racism to be funny, with booze, puke and nudity being their second line of attack. Unsurprisingly, none of these works.
Packing proceedings with everything, from an irritable group of jocks, annoying sorority girls, a hairy, semi-nude, self-proclaimed Master of something that I don’t remember, to a nut-job wearing an Indian chief’s headdress, the film tests your patience throughout. And with a feeble attempt at being a coming-of-age story as well, where the film tries to tell you that you should follow your heart and do what makes you happy, the film manages to lose a plot that it never had in the first place.
One would think that an hour and a half isn’t too much to take, but believe you me, this film feels way longer than that. It doesn’t help that even technically, the film is quite weak. It has an all-too-generic look about it and has some choppy editing, though I strongly suspect some of it is because of abrupt cuts suggested by the Indian censors. Fact remains that in a poor film, weak technique stands out even more, something that this film suffers from as well.
Predictable, asinine and always puerile, 21 & Over is truly a film that just doesn’t need to be watched. For silliness that invokes some genuine laughs, I’d suggest you just revisit The Hangover on DVD instead.
This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
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