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21 & Over

7/10

Stars: Miles Teller, Skylar Astin, Justin Chon, Sarah Wright, Jonathan Keltz, Francois Chau, Russell Hodgkinson, Daniel Booko

Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

21 and Over is a near-perfect example of a movie that is aimed at moviegoers and not at critics.

Lewd low jinks are its sole raison d’ętre and, on that admittedly low level it succeeds splendidly, as might be expected from a movie written and directed by debut helmers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who scripted The Hangover.

Which perfectly explains the storyline and its contents. The movie is essentially a lively reworking of the comic elements of The Hangover, which switches its protagonists from no-holds-barred adults to equally reprehensible college students with (and I admit to enjoying crude comedy, ‘Hangover-style’ without lamenting what I see or wishing there were subtitles to make my enjoyment critically acceptable).

21 and Over declares its hand right from the start when Miles Teller and Skylar Astin are seen walking stark naked across the college campus with only sports socks to maintain their modesty. After which we flash back to the night of drunken debauchery that has landed them in their shivery situation.

The previous evening Astin and Teller persuade their medical student pal Justin Chow, who is preparing for a key medical school interview the next morning, to join them for one drink to celebrate his 21st birthday. Unsurprisingly, the one drink develops into a marathon drinking session which ends up with Chow unconscious and alcohol-soaked. Which is when Astin and Teller face mounting disaster as, not knowing where he lives, they try and find out Chow’s address and get him home in time to save him from his hardliner father.

Astin, Teller and Chow clearly enjoy their roles and transmit that enjoyment to the audience, while Sarah Wright as the cheerleader whose path they cross and Jonathan Keltz as her aggressive boyfriend whom they also cross make the most of their frequent comic opportunities.

Happily, no attempt is made to make 21 and Over anything but a crude comedy packed with low jokes and even cruder situations which include Astin and Teller breaking into a sorority house where they have fun at the expense of blindfolded and minimally clothed female pledges. The unconscious Chow is reworked by stoners, who transform him into a woman with, improbably, an attached teddy bear to hide his crown jewels. From which you can gather that bad taste is the keynote of a comedy not just in the tradition of The Hangover but bearing the hallmarks of such comic capers as Knocked Up as well.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: eOne/Momentum. Technicolor.
93 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 May 2013