TIRED OLD FILM ONE TO FORGET
THE words "from the writers of the Hangover" should instantly let you know what to expect from 21 and Over — and although the coming-of-age flick follows the same boozed-up formula, it fails to compete.
The film begins with school friends Casey (Skylar Aston) and Miller (Miles Teller) walking through a university campus stark naked — save for strategically placed socks — before explaining what happened in the 24 hours leading up to the walk of shame.
After turning up at the home of pre-med student Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) on his 21st birthday — and the eve of the most important interview of his life — the pair convince him (rather quickly) to celebrate hitting the legal drinking age with a couple of beers.
But the night soon descends into chaos and when Jeff Chang (the insistence on calling him by his full name through the entirety of the film could well be one of its highlights) passes out, his friends begin the mission of finding their way back to his house.
Cue gross humour, campus stereotypes, racism and an unbelievable series of events involving a charging buffalo, vengeful Latina sorority girls and Jeff Chang being dropped from great heights on several occasions without sustaining so much as a scratch.
In theory, and given the popularity of the Hangover films, 21 and Over is a recipe for success. But a lack of warmth for the characters means the movie is left with nothing but crude jokes — including slow-motion vomiting from several camera angles, and urination over a bar full of students.
An attempt to create empathy with the three friends, who have grown apart since leaving for college, proves too little too late, and ultimately it is hard to work out why they would ever have been friends given their differences.
Nevertheless, the leads deliver their lines with conviction, and we can only hope that the film — like the night in question — will prove a rite of passage into something more respectable.
21 and Over will probably be a hit with anyone aged 21 — but the older members of the audience will leave feeling uncomfortably old.