Wednesday, April 17, 2013

21 & Over [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

Every year now we're lucky enough to have theaters graced with a party movie where everything goes completely wrong. I'm a fan of the original The Hangover, but it's spurred one of the worst, I guess you could call it sub-genres, ever thought up. Now almost on a yearly basis we get a completely awful teen party movie pinned as "the most wild night you'll ever see" or something along those lines. A few years ago we got the awful follow up to The Hangover, last year we got Project X and this year they've given us 21 & Over. Guess what? It also stars one of the actors from last years Project X. Great recipe there right? Wrong. As 21 & Over may be the least funny "party" movie yet.

21 & Over follows the story of three guys who have been friends since high school, Jeff Chang, Casey and Miller (Justin Chon, Skylar Austin and Miles Teller). They have all since gone to different colleges and are meeting up for Jeff Chang's 21st birthday party. What they didn't realize is that Jeff Chang's overbearing father has a med school interview set up for him the next morning. Miller threats to blare an air horn all night if Jeff doesn't come with them, and finally Jeff Chang agrees to go out. At the first bar they go to, everything is fairly civil. Trouble was brewing as Miller accidentally hits a guy in the face with a dart. Meanwhile Casey meets a nice girl named Nicole (Sarah Wright) and has a nice conversation with her. Midway through it's stopped as the trio has to bolt cause of what Miller did. Jeff Chang starts to get excited that he can just go into any bar now. After hitting a bunch of bars and drinking a ton, Jeff Chang passes out and can't be awakened. Miller and Casey are forced to try and get "passed out" Jeff Chang home. Traversing a campus they don't know trying to find Jeff's house they break into a sorority. They are then forced to place in a huge frat party to find the address, get kidnapped by an angry group of co-eds and even find out things about Jeff that they never thought they would. Jeff Chang has just turned 21 and he's had a crazy night he will never remember.

I wanna preface this by saying, while terrible, some of the elements and parts of the story are alright-ish. Now I'm not excusing the awfulness of this. I mean come on, stoners gluing a teddy bear to man's penis is just painfully unfunny. But some of the story elements had good ideas going for as well as some of the back story for Jeff Chang. It won't be excused that 99% of this movie is still just plain awful. It starts with the casting and acting. Sarah Wright and Justin Chon have had some good roles in their careers and so has Skylar Austin. Television roles that are pretty solid, such as Parks and Recreation, House, How I Met Your Mother and Mad Men. Skyalr Austin was in the mega hit Pitch Perfect too. I just don't understand how you could think that this was anywhere near a good idea. While good actors, I failed to take them seriously. The people I didn't like I had no care in the world for either. So when something "bad" happened I failed to give any reaction to it. Also, I have no earthly idea after the complete bomb of Project X that you could think that Miles Teller was in anyway gonna make this stand out from the pack. The casting and characters are a complete mess and this partly equates to such its badness. While I understand actors have the, "Do one for them, do one for me" mentality. I don't understand how anyone would want to sign onto something like this.

The bad doesn't end with the characters either. Like I said, some of the parts of the story had good ideas, but it was still abysmal overall. Once you get past the initial scenes where you meet the guys and they go out and get drunk, you start to realize that they're complete morons. No one would ever have this much trouble finding a house on a college campus. Then the first thing they do is break into a sorority house. I mean, I get they're drunk, to an extent, but their first thought is to break in a house? Come on now. Then once inside, its almost a complete 180 as they sober up at an unnatural rate. Contradicting yourself is the sign of bad writing, but making it so blatant is just plain horrible. This is a comedy by the way. I don't know if I've mentioned it yet. But it is, and I remember only laughing at one joke near the end of the movie. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but a comedy is supposed to make me laugh. If it doesn't do that then that's just another aspect where this movie fails. I love comedies, I love laughing and it's pretty easy to please me when it does come to comedy. When I go a full hour and a half barely cracking a smile, something is either wrong with my brain or with the movie. The music was wholly annoying throughout as well. Just another thing this movie does wrong in my opinion and you can add it to the list of bad 21 & Over has accrued. If there's one thing this did do right, it was not be overly long. It didn't have any dragging scenes. Though it may have been full of them, I guess. Some points in bad movies you just stop caring.

I'm tempted to close this by just saying "21 & Over is awful, please don't see it." But, I'll summarize everything I've said above. In short, this movie fails to be a comedy at any points. Some could argue it fails at being a movie at all. The bad writing takes any credibility from actors or the performances they give as well. If you're a fan of something like Project X, then 21 & Over is right up your alley. Though I will say if you truly did enjoy either of these movies, you should go get your head checked out. You may have some type of concussion.

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