It’s Jeff Chang’s 21st birthday, and we all know that that means he should get completely wasted in order to celebrate the fact that he can legally purchase alcohol. Jeff Chang’s problem, though, is that he has a meeting the next morning that’s important to his medical degree. So when he winds up getting so drunk he’s incapacitated, his fate lies in the hands of his two best friends, who need to get him home and sobered up in time for his father to pick him up in the morning.
Of course, along the way, a string of drunken hijinks ensue.
If you’re a fan of comedies revolving exclusively around drunken hijinks, then “21 & Over” is a film that will make you laugh. If not? Then, move along.
Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) are two high school friends who reunite in order to visit a third friend, Jeff Chang (Justin Chon), on his 21st birthday. Upon arriving, they find Chang’s intimidating father (Francois Chau) there, as well. Except Chang’s father isn’t there to celebrate his son’s birthday, he’s there to ensure his son is properly prepared for a meeting early the next morning which can have an impact on his future in med school. This is completely unacceptable to his friends from high school, however, who expected a night of drunken debauchery. So once Chang’s father leaves, Casey and Miller set to work on pressuring him to go out drinking. After a short period of strong-arming, the two get him to agree to come out for “one beer”.
Of course, one beer is never just one beer, and once the drinks start flowing, Jeff Chang gets into the spirit of things. The one beer turns into a bar hopping adventure that leaves Chang absolutely shitfaced drunk. He’s unable to walk, he’s unable to talk, and so Casey and Miller literally have to carry him around. Worst of all, Chang is unable to tell them where he lives… the two of them are only visiting, and they don’t remember his address.
So, with a catatonic friend and not knowing where they are, Casey and Miller need to find a way to get their friend home.
Drunken adventures ensue.
I’m well on the record as having a soft spot for movies revolving around drunken debauchery. Watching all the keg stands, beer pong, and body shots here almost brought a tear to my eye. Watching them get chased from a girls dorm, get into fights, and injure their drunken friend during the course of their well-intentioned efforts brought me back to the days of yore when I was doing those things. I got a kick out of watching Chang get drunk, vomit everywhere, pass out, get vandalized by other drunks, and then catch a second wind and start drinking again. I know that guy well.
So, for those of you who are fans of the “Party Movie” genre, “21 & Over” will fit the bill. It’s no threat to unseat “Animal House” or “The Hangover”, but it’s a funny film within that given context. I still have issues with it (One guy getting hammered and the other two basically staying sober is not how it works), but I found myself highly amused throughout.
If you’re NOT a fan of movies about drinking to excess, I think that this movie would have next to nothing to offer you. There’s not a lot of comedy in play outside of laughing at how drunk Chang is, or all the damage they do to him because he’s drunk. There’s some collegiate escapades along the way that could have been used in spite of the partying, but not many.
I’m tempted to split the grade, but I’ll save that for “So Bad They’re Good” movies. Instead I’ll average the “Fan of Drunk Movies” / “Not a Fan of Drunk Movies” scores out and give it a