21 and Over Jon Lucas & Scott Moore

21 and Over Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
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Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (the writers of The Hangover) take over directing duties in 21 and Over, another tale in which a group of friends are tasked with discovering the whereabouts of a missing comrade after a night of debauchery. But in this film, said buddy is missing in spirit rather than body, passed out after a drunken 21st birthday celebration.

Miller (Miles Teller) is a college dropout who wants to relive the glory years of high school. Casey (Skylar Austin) is an uptight commerce student all too eager to grow up and stop having fun. And Jeff (Justin Chon) is a stressed-out pre-med student who has a medical school interview the next morning.

Like The Hangover, this film bucks current Judd Apatow-inspired trends and bothers to have an actual narrative; the plot is motivated by the two friends trying to find Jeff's house so that he'll be ready for his medical school interview the next morning. However, they discover that his life has changed for the worse since high school.

It's not the worst premise in the world, evoking other one-crazy-night films (Superbad, Sixteen Candles), with a whiff of Ferris Bueller's Day Off humanity, so it's too bad that the script's plotting leads nowhere. Miller and Casey collect clues about Jeff Chang, but instead of acting as actual signifiers of his character, they consist of nonsensical red herrings meant to make things more enticing.

Don't get too excited if you thought this would finally be the Hollywood film that cast a non-martial artist Asian-American in the lead role. Chang spends most of the film unconscious, so actor Justin Chon is used mostly as a prop to be carried around from one location to another as a human punch line, whether crammed into the back of a hybrid car or thrown off a building (twice).

Like The Hangover, this film is blissfully unaware of its racism and misogyny, employing Asian stereotypes and providing us with a female love interest (Sarah Wright) so monotonously perfect and boring that she could have only sprung from the minds of male writers.

Ironically (or not), 21 and Over is best enjoyed by those under 15. (eOne)