Exactly a year after “Project X” blew the college humor genre out of the water, along comes a movie that drags its feet in the shadow of its predecessor. Another notch in the bedpost of party movies, “21 and Over,” rated R and released March 1, is a sucker punch to the guilty conscience from the get go.
It’s the typical party movie set up: three friends in college decide to celebrate the 21st birthday of the otherwise quiet one in the group, and ultimately, things go from bad to worse rapidly.
I almost sometimes forget the name of this movie, mostly because it’s so hard to picture anyone who’s actually 21 and over enjoying it. To be honest, that’s how the entire feel for the movie was and just might forever live its legacy as, “what was that one movie with the naked Asian?”
Directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s work isn’t too hard to distinguish. The two have regularly teamed up for bawdy humor comedies like “The Hangover” and “The Change-Up,” so taking on this flick was a no-brainer.
Even though it wasn’t necessarily a follow-up to “Project X,” too many elements were copied and pasted from other films like it into this “new” take on a party movie. You’ve got your three amigos—one of which is the overdone foul mouth, the other a leader, and the last one who is typically passed out the majority of the time. However, it was a relief without the handheld camera element. Talk about flogging a dead dog…
While it was certainly brash and formulated, the characters seemed refreshing in their own right. Finally, we get to see other actors besides Zach Galifianakis show off some obscene acting chops.
Lucas and Moore try to cram in as much lewd, sexist, and at times homophobic humor to cover up the fact that there’s absolutely no new material. The only thing I can really pin point in originality that the partnership managed to scribble down was the overly emphasized barfing shot—on a mechanical bull in “slow-mo,” no less.
While this film and others like it attempt to pay homage to the greats like “Animal House” and “Old School,” I unfortunately feel like the college party movies have overstayed their welcome a touch for now. I’m positive if they quit while they’re ahead now, these kinds of movies will pop back up in a few years to shock us once again.
I give “21 and Over” a three out of five chips. It’s a sad time in Hollywood when at the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of 30-somethings trying to relive the glory days through their movies. This flick tries so hard to be the new and improved “Superbad,” but just like a redheaded stepchild, it just can’t compete.