Apparently turning 21 entails a shaggy-dog story of misadventures including tampon-scoffing, runaway balls and concluding your alcoholic enlightenment with a circumcision by teddy bear. 21 & Over screams, or rather drunkenly hollers, ˜live life to the fullest!’
One would have thought that with the writers of The Hangover (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore) co-directing, this teen-movie would be filled with the most cringe-worthy, hilarious and unbelievable moments, involving tigers, infants and Caesar’s Palace. Unfortunately this trio of recently legal teens is not the younger version of the wolf pack. Instead we are bitterly disappointed, like Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylar Astin) after completing a gruelling tower of power, when they discover at the top a half naked man who precedes to hand over plastic ˜gold’ necklaces as a reward.
The premise of this predicable 21st Birthday night of freedom hangs precariously by the academic student Jeff Chang (Justin Chong). The night he turns 21 is the night before his big medical school interview. Two of his closest friends turn up and insist on celebrating his first legal night. Initially reluctant, Jeff finally gets dragged out on a celebration that he probably won’t remember in the morning. The film is dependent on racial stereotypes, in the sense that Asians are overachievers in Jeff’s character and his domineering father who is desperate for his son’s success.
Although 21 & Over, follows a similar story to The Hangover, as Jeff remains comatose for the majority of the film, whilst his friends have completely lost track of him, unlike The Hangover, everything is predictable from the college initiations to the race to get Jeff home and dressed for his interview. This ˜comedy’ fails to follow in the disorderly footsteps of American Pie and Harold & Kumar.
What is slightly worrying is the film’s final implication that a night of hair-raising debauchery is how you grow up and find yourself. If having a teddy bear glued to your man hood means self-discovery, then it makes us fear for the future US youth, and America itself.