“Straight-A college student Jeff Chang has always done what he was supposed to do. But when his two best friends take him out for his 21st birthday on the night before an important medical school interview, Jeff Chang snaps and decides to do everything he wants to do. Jeff Chang, which is said more than a few times and admittingly does roll of the tongue nicely, has a big medical school interview in the morning that his stern father is keen to have him do well at. What first time director Nima Nourizadeh and scribes Matt Drake and Michael Bacall would like Project X to be is a perfect combination of a John Hughes “crazy day in troubled high school life” mixed with Todd Phillips Hangover antics.
Does it succeed? Well, not really. Yes, I prefer American Reunion. But thats just me, and it’s probably 75% due to nostalgia. I also prefer Ted, and The Hangover, as well as 21 Jump Street. I know that sounds bad, but I always like older movies better and that is JUST me. 21 and Over is a good movie in it’s own way, and I really liked the fact that it shows a little racial diversity and went with an Asian lead. The humour in this film is hit and miss. Some jokes you will laugh hard at, and others you will awkwardly wait to see if anyone else in the theatre laughs at before you follow along. I particularly enjoyed this movie because there was some serious moments which I thought brought a sense of balance, but of course there was a happy ending. “21 and Over” sort of has the same qualities as “The Hangover”, but differs in age and plot. Also, like “The Hangover”, the cast was primarily Caucasian which to me seems unrealistic, but it’s just a movie at the end of the day.
21 And Over is a film that follows the current trend of having its best moments spoiled by the trailer. It is absolutely as predictable as it looks and complications, like the friends discovering Jeff is carrying a gun on his night out with them, are resolved in utterly simplistic ways. The threats of Dr. Chang carry weight with Miller and Casey, but are harder to take serious for the audience, which makes most of 21 And Over utterly unnecessary. Instead, 21 And Over is presented as a thinly-veiled excuse for nudity, fat jokes, and vomit gags that are not over-the-top enough.
Anything that can go wrong does, and its a joy to see how everyone reacts to it. What really stands out in this movie though, is that it digs a little deeper into each character. It shows itself as generic comedy and then shows you that its much more. Quite the opposite of most movies that come out. I caught a special screening of this. If you liked The Hangover, you should like this, if you would like to see a younger version of it. The film is funny, and that’s what it’s meant to be. It’s not trying to be a deep thinking movie, it wants you to sit back and enjoy the ride. The jokes though are juvenile and there is no high brow art to be found. So…buyer beware. Still an enjoyable time.