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21 & Over - Review

21 & Over

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE writers of the original Hangover, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, attempt to replicate that success with a similarly hedonistic comedy set around a high school. Alas, lightning doesn’t strike twice as this far more vulgar offering quite often smacks of desperation and has more to offend than make you giggle.

On the eve of an important interview promising med school student Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is dragged out to celebrate his 21st birthday by his two best friends, level headed Casey (Skylar Astin) and irresponsible Miller (Miles Teller).

But when Jeff becomes so drunk he passes out, it’s left to Casey and Miller to try and remember where he lives and get him home and cleaned up in time for the morning interview. Needless to say, all manner of wild adventures ensue.

The main problem with Lucas and Moore’s film, which also marks their directorial debut, is that it’s trying so hard to emulate The Hangover without any of the ingenuity of that film or the charisma of its Wolfpack.

Of this trio, Astin’s more sensitive Casey emerges with the most appeal but Teller is just plain irritating as Miller, begging the question of why he could become a best friend in the first place, while Chon’s Chang, spends too much of the film either unconscious or off his face to register.

The gags, meanwhile, vary from the crass (eating tampons) to the racist or misogynistic with only a few that hit. But then the script as a whole has a lot to frustrate, whether it’s the contrived nature of the plotting and characterisation or the insistence on having Casey and Miller constantly refer to their best buddie as ‘Jeff Chang’. Surely Jeff would do?

A mystery element surrounding Chang’s recent fall from grace merely adds padding and feels like another nod to The Hangover.

All in all, 21 And Over is aimed squarely at teenage audiences (or minds) still hung up on partying to excess and trying to remember what they did the next morning. In that regard, it could be viewed as an ode to youthful recklessness and irresponsibility. But it also feels like the type of night out you’ll quickly want to forget.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 90mins
UK Release Date: May 3, 2013