Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Movie Review: 21 and Over

I haven’t been out of college that long. Technically, I graduated in 2012, but my last experience living on campus was 2008. I went to a small school with a high concentration of Greek life on campus. I, personally, was not one of them, but I had a lot of Greek friends so I went to a few parties in my time, mostly my freshman and sophomore years. I realized quickly that the big party scene wasn’t for me, but I will say that it was extremely entertaining to watch on the big screen in 21 and Over.

My 21st birthday was comprised of a birthday party and Chili’s with an Indiana Jones theme followed by a trip to the bar where I was hit on by one of the creepiest men on the planet. My experience is probably not typical, you know, considering we had paper fedoras, but I did get to experience my 21st with some modicum of style. Things would probably have been more hopping if I’d turned 21 on the weekend, but my birthday fell on Memorial Day, just has my 21st birthday had when I turned 16. Do you know how much it sucks not to be able to get your Driver’s License changed?! Terrible.* We also elected not to bar hop, which is what the characters in the movie decide to do.

Much like The Hangover, 21 and Over is about friends who are celebrating a particular milestone. In the case of Jeff Chang, he’s doing it pretty much against his will and ends up getting way beyond trashed. The movie opens with the aftermath of the night’s events and we’re taken back in time roughly twelve hours to the beginning of the evening. In order to get Jeff Chang home and ready for his medical school interview, Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) must go on a trek to find his address and make him look presentable for Tiger Dad, Dr. Chang (Francois Chau).

Hijinks ensue, 'natch. The guys find themselves in an area of town they are unfamiliar with, they make enemies with multiple ethnic groups, become friends with a dancing homeless man, and become the victims of some severe Greek revenge. There is a lot of gratuitous sexual language and some scenes are pretty uncomfortable to watch. Physical and "gross out" comedy is prevalent throughout the movie.

There’s also a nugget of a moral nestled within the movie as well. Miller, Casey, and Jeff Chang are best friends in high school, but they go to different colleges. Then, slowly, they drift apart, but all reunite for Jeff Chang’s big night. There’s some truth in the tale; high school friends don’t always stay close when they get to college. However, just because you’re not best friends and super close with someone anymore doesn’t make them less important and doesn’t mean that you care about them less. I went to school in the same town with several of my high school friends and we’ve drifted apart. They still matter to me a great deal; we’re just not as close as we used to be.

At its heart, this movie is about friendship and overcoming the rifts that are created between friends during college. It’s also about how going to college can change you for the better. No one that I know is really the same person now that they were in high school. That’s not a bad thing; you become your best self. This causes some tension between Miller and Casey. Miller thinks that everyone should pretty much stay the same, but Casey has used his experience in college to change and grow.

Speaking of Casey, let me throw up some mad love for Skylar Astin. After having seen him in Pitch Perfect last year, I was instantly amazed at his awesomeness. He did not disappoint in 21 and Over. He doesn’t sing in this, but by golly I would have paid extra if he would have.** I really see big things in his future.


**I received a free pass to this movie courtesy of and Relativity Media. I was not give monetary compensation for this review other than the value of the pass.

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