21 & Over (“Or As I Like To Call It: Superbad 2”)

4 Mar

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Synopsis: “The night before his big medical school exam, a promising student celebrates his 21st birthday with his two best friends. (Rated R; 1 hour 33 minutes)

Allow me to set the scene: There are two main characters, one is a quiet and neurotic friend, the other is loud, extremely crass and inappropriate. Along with a third, nerdy, supporting character friend, they get into crazy hi-jinks and have the most perverted and vulgar conversations. If you enjoyed Superbad, then the writers of 21 & Over have recreated that same setup for this one.

To be fair, what made Superbad special wasn’t any of that necessarily. There have been countless movies with young guys getting into funny sexual situations over the years, from Porky’s to Van Wilder. The thing that made Superbad special was its writing. It was just a sharp screenplay with very funny actors, and you managed to somehow not only laugh at the escalating scenarios that they would get into, but also care about their close friendships. It just fired on all cylinders so that each line was sharp, and even the sweet scenes were funny but also made you like them. This is especially true for Jonah Hill’s character who should have been unlikable, but instead you not only laughed at his lines but saw through his crass outer shell to his insecurities.

In 21 & Over they got most of the shell of Superbad right but missed out on a lot of those inner qualities I mentioned above. Playing the part of Jonah Hill is Miles Teller, who was in the much more creative raunchy, teen comedy Project X. (Side note about Project X, he plays “himself” in that movie, which was bizarre since he wasn’t famous yet, only making the “cameo” more random.) In 21 & Over he’s over-the-top crass, but never likable the way Jonah Hill was, and I just wondered why these others stayed with him as a friend. Skylar Astin managed to continue his amiable every-man character that was so pleasant in Pitch Perfect, and is the one character in the movie I actually liked (though I wondered all the more-so why he was friends with Miles Teller). There was also a bizarre ending where I thought it would be predictable, but instead this one important character in the movie (no spoilers given) ends up being such a horrible person that you’re left confused if you were supposed to be laughing. It just didn’t work. He turned out to basically being an abusive person, and you’re left wondering how that fits in a movie where 30 seconds later you’re meant to be laughing again. Sorry, but that doesn’t fly for me, it clashes with the tone of the flick.

All of this being said, as someone who enjoys frat-humor, I definitely laughed at plenty of the lines, and there were scenarios throughout the movie that cracked me up. Last night was the rare occurrence where I messed up and went to the wrong theater, causing Adi, Abe, Farnaz and myself to miss the movie we were planning to see. We ended up seeing 21 & Over knowing that it wasn’t an ideal movie for each of us, but that helped me perspective on whether or not you are someone who would want to see it. Here is the deciding key: If you didn’t even enjoy Superbad or American Pie, then absolutely not – easy answer. If you liked those movies but realize that you wouldn’t have if the characters had been unlikable, and it was all about the raunchy things that occurred, then you won’t enjoy this either (as in the case of Adi and Farnaz). But if you’re someone who has a great time watching Jackass, and laughs at ridiculous scenes regardless of the characters and plot, then sure, this will provide plenty of laughs (as it did for Abe and myself). Those laughs may just feel a bit less satisfying than they could have been.

The movie was better than Movie 43, which I reviewed this year and was full of crass, raunchy humor but didn’t even attempt to have a story or relatable characters.  The movie was clearly worse than Superbad, as well as Project X.

Quality Rating: C+

Boaz Rating: A- (Although the focus of this review was picking on its negatives, I still enjoy frat-humor enough that I had a fun time watching this)

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One Response to “21 & Over (“Or As I Like To Call It: Superbad 2”)”

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  1. The 2013 Boaz Movie Tally (Where Have I Been?!) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - March 25, 2014

    […] Farnaz – 5 (Abe’s far prettier half enjoyed most movies we saw together last year, but not this frat-humor one: 21 & Over.) […]

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