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March 2, 2013 | 8:59 a.m. CST
Toward the very end of 21 and Over, one of the main characters says to the other, “We are the biggest morons in the entire world.”
It is one of the only intelligent things said in the whole movie.
The premise is simple. One friend, Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) has his medical school interview the morning after his 21st birthday. His two best friends, Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylar Astin) show up to get him wasted anyway.
Over the course of the movie, Jeff’s worst best friends drop him off a roof twice (because once was not enough), deposit him with two stoners who glue a teddy bear to his unmentionables and seem blissfully unconcerned about Jeff’s possible alcohol poisoning.
The majority of the humor is overtly racist and sexist. Only a handful of women in the movie are given speaking parts, and the rest fall under the “pair of boobs” role. Many of the women who do have voices are members of a Latina sorority who are repeatedly referred to as angry and aggressive.
Other races fare just as poorly. At one point, Miller actually says, “Thank God you’re white,” to the girl who answers the door at another sorority. Someone involved in the making of this movie needed to point out that being offensive doesn’t automatically make something funny.
That’s not to say 21 and Over is completely devoid of laughs. When it isn’t trying so hard to toe boundaries, there are a lot of subtle jokes that work well. There is a goofy and irreverent humor written into the movie that works, and the actors play it well. The problem is that the film is bogged down by the less funny material and some extremely ill-advised “serious” scenes that give the movie the vibe of an after-school special.
21 and Over shows occasional promise, but that promise is completely overshadowed by the uninspired junk that fills the rest of the movie.