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Bad Movie Tuesday: 21 & Over 90 minutes of Vulgarity

June 25, 2013

21 & Over Movie poster

21 & Over is incredibly vulgar, every nationality is insulted, every profanity is spewed and every type of liquor is vomited. It is a case study in too much. The movie features two dudes played by likable actors Miles Teller (Footloose, Spectacular Now, Project X) and Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, Hamlet 2) and puts them in the traditional drunk escapade involving getting their good friend Jeff Chang to his medical school interview. Throughout the night they unleash a bull, puke on a mechanical bull, sneak into a sorority house, watch women make out, throw a dart through a dude’s cheek, dance on cop cars, throw Jeff Chang out of multiple windows, escape an angry father, get spanked by paddles, only wear socks, endure closeted frat dudes, pee on women and drink a lot of beer.

There is so much vulgarity you never get to like the characters who are engaged in the nastiness. It wanted to be Old School, Animal House, Harold and Kumar and Road Trip but forgot to make memorable characters. The four films I mentioned all feature likable characters, hilarious moments and copious vulgarity that are used in conjunction with each other to create gut busting laughs. However, 21 rarely blends character/hilarity/vulgarity into funny moments. The biggest laugh comes from an incredibly drunk Jeff Chang dancing on top of a car after the police tell him to “get down.” The moment works because of the cheeky dancing and the reactions from the cops. The best moments in this film are not gross and come from little exchanges like this:

Chang: “You broke my laptop!”

Angry dude: “Get a desktop!”

When making a gross-out college romp the most important things are the characters. If you don’t like the people involved you will have nothing invested in the bodily function jokes. There is no Frank the Tank, Harold, Kumar, Bluto, or endearing Sean William Scott character guiding you through the shenanigans. We are stuck with likable actors who have been made unbearable by the constant barrage of dialogue and excretion of bodily functions.  Miles Teller is a great actor but the script never lets him stop talking. He talks about everything he sees and it starts to grate the ears and numb the senses. Miles is Vince Vaughn X11 and he explains everything that happens after it happened. For instance, Jeff Chang pukes on some coeds then Miles says “Jeff Chang just puked on some coeds!” Also, They throw Jeff Chang out of a window and Miles declares “We just through Jeff Chang through a window!” You will hear everything twice in 21 & Over

If you insist on watching this film and haven’t watched Pitch Perfect, Footloose or Project X then I’ve compiled a checklist for watching this film. 

1. Drink every time they say “Jeff Chang.” They say it like 700 times. I’m pretty certain the creators intended the constant name check to become a party game.

2. Watch it in the background while at a party and pretend like you weren’t the one who recommended it.

3. If you are writing a film about a wild night of shenanigans this will show you what not to do.

4. Drink every time they say “Randy.” It is a decent little subplot involving a dude named Randy and two dudes who always call him “Randy.”

5. Appreciate better films like Euro Trip, Road Trip and Hangover. Realize that it is hard to make popular frat-house films.

Don’t watch 21 & Over. Watch Pitch Perfect, Footloose or Project X. Appreciate the college Animal House classics that have survived the test of time.

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