Following several successful ventures, such as 2009’s “The Hangover” and 2011’s “The Change Up,” writing team Jon Lucas and Scott Moore have come back with another screwball comedic hit with their directorial debut, “21 and Over.” A well-crafted script combines with a well-cast acting ensemble to produce this film, which is sure to delight all fans of the raunchy comedy genre.
The plot of the film consists of an “American Pie”-styled escapade involving three high school friends Jeff (Justin Chon), Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylar Astin) who have gone their separate ways. The film begins with Miller and Casey arriving at Jeff’s school to surprise him and take him out for his 21st birthday. Jeff, however, resists the offer because of an important interview for medical school the following morning. Miller and Casey do end up convincing him to go out for one drink that turns out to be much more. As the night progresses, Miller and Casey lose track of their highly intoxicated friend and must go out to find him before his interview the following morning.
The cast of the film never tries to be too serious and delivers their punch lines perfectly. However, the three leads lack the ability to convey the more serious parts of the film, though whether that is the fault of the actors or of the screenplay is unclear. Of the three, the definite standouts are Chon and Teller. Chon’s constant drunken adventures are astutely played and memorably acted. With Teller, many of his ranting and delightfully raunchy monologues continually produce laughs and are certain to be quoted.
There is nothing to criticize about the directing of the film, but it still only comes off as satisfactory. The fast pace of the film keeps the movie from coming off as dull. The comedic timing is strong and highly consistent and helps to boost the already hilarious dialogue of the film. All of this aside, the actors are unable to convincingly pull off the emotional elements in the film, which shouldn’t have been forced into the film. The directing team’s decision to incorporate an emotional component to the otherwise comedy-driven story turns what could have been a successful film to an acceptable directing job.
The most successful aspect of the movie is its script that, though silly at times, is packed with hilarious dialogue and situational humor. Nearly every scene in the film has at least one example of a laugh-out-loud moment, such as a stampede scene involving a bull and some male cheerleaders as well as the drinking game known as the “Tower of Power.” Aside from the success of the film’s humor, “21 and Over” attempts to add an emotional side plot and fails. Only coming out at the end, the emotional conclusion of the film attempts to give it a nice moral message but feels severely out of place.
Overall, “21 and Over” is a perfect film for anyone looking to go out and enjoy a few laughs without having to think too much while doing it. Though the film may lack depth, it certainly makes up for it with laughs and shouldn’t be missed by fans of screwball comedy.
Overall Rating: 2 ½ Stars
Writing team Jon Lucas and Scott Moore make their directorial debut with the humorous hit “21 and Over.”