Friday, 26 April 2013

21 & Over: Certainly not the target audience

21 & Over is like a college version of The Hangover. I never quite understood all the love for The Hangover but similarly I don't really understand all the very negative reviews of this. 21 & Over follows in a long tradition of movies where college kids behave badly, having countless misadventures that usually entail drinking, parties, sex and just a little bit of growing up. They are often funny, occasionally fluffy, frequently mildly offensive and terribly sexist.

Like Porky's, American Pie, Road Trip, The Hangover and legions of others before it, 21 & Over focuses on a group of male characters and the camaraderie and banter that ensues when they set out on a silly quest. In this case that mission is for friends Casey and Miller to get their old best buddy Jeff Chang blind drunk on his 21st birthday that unfortunately happens to fall on the eve of his big med-school interview.

21 & Over is a typical tale of boys being boys. Silly, sexist and occasionally vile, Miller is a gobshite like Steve Stifler but with a sweeter, slightly less sick side. Miles Teller is pretty funny despite the constant stream of casually racist comments that pour from his mouth. He's like a live action Cartman with all his banter, put-downs and snarky remarks having a racial edge but this is more a reflection on the dumb white guy stereotype he plays than the other character's ethnicities.

However this supposedly harmless racial banter is more troublesome when the film starts to claim that Miller is a actually secretly smart and also with the crass stereotypes that it contains. Jeff Chang's father is the worst culprit; a bullying figure whose pressure ignores the desires of his own son and the toll this is taking on young Jeff.

However despite the continuous references to race, 21 & Over can be funny, sweet and for a change from the norm in this kind of movie, the girls are not completely dopey, airhead stereotypes. Nicole is the object of Casey's affections and comes across as far more interesting character than many of the girls in this kind of teen comedy.

21 & Over relies heavily on immature and unoriginal humour but the three main characters are likeable despite the frequently dubious banter and the story has bundles of fun complications stopping the heroes from simply getting home. It's not brilliant but its funnier and more entertaining than The Hangover or its sequel.

Watch the trailer:

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