A rude and rowdy comedy about the farcical consequences of a night of drunken debauchery, 21 & Over resembles a junior version of The Hangover, which is hardly surprising given that it marks the directing debut of Hangover screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.
Here, the story’s ne’er do wells are former high-school buddies Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylar Astin), who talk their friend Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) into going out for a drink to celebrate his 21st birthday, despite the fact that he has a crucial med-school interview in the morning and a scary Tiger Dad father breathing down his neck.
The evening predictably descends into chaos and the inebriated birthday boy ends up streaking through the streets wearing nothing but a pink bra and a teddy bear glued to his crotch. He’s not the only one to lose his dignity: Miller and Casey get stripped, spanked and branded after a brush with a houseful of angry sorority girls.
It’s all very crude and crass, yet the trio remain essentially likeable, notwithstanding their riotous behaviour, thanks to the three leads’ appealing performances, with the motor mouth Teller, channelling the young John Cusack and Vince Vaughn, particularly impressive.
The film won’t linger in the memory except, perhaps, as a footnote in the history of 21st-century US-China cultural relations illustrating Hollywood’s increasing willingness to pander to America’s superpower rival. To increase its appeal to Chinese audiences, the version of the film released in China turned the character of Jeff Chang into a Chinese transfer student and included additional scenes showing him returning home chastened by his experiences in the decadent US.
Released on Blu-ray and DVD by Entertainment One.
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