Last night I watched 21 & Over in theaters. I think I smiled twice. And only out of discomfort. I’m not sure what the appropriate facial gesture is when you’re watching someone get their foreskin forcibly removed from their penis. Do you laugh? Do you cry? Do you curse humanity for letting it get this far? I don’t know. All I do know is that you’ve already seen the movie.
“No Jenni,” I can hear you saying aloud to yourself as your co-workers look curiously at you, “I actually haven’t seen that movie. Stop assuming you know everything about me.”
“Well actually Delilah,” because you’re all Delilah from the radio to me, “if you’ve seen The Hangover and/or Hangover 2, you’ve seen this movie.”
21 & Over, starring my Pitch Perfect crush Skylar Astin wearing only a tube sock, is written by the same people who wrote The Hangover. And I guess they’re really one-trick ponies because they can’t stop making the same movie over and over and over again. And I say this as someone who surprisingly liked The Hangover. It’s surprising because I’m not really into hijinks. I’m much more of a “oh, I see what they did there” kinda gal. But The Hangover had me laughing at the stupidest stuff. Like teeth getting knocked out. That’s some zany shit right there. So naturally I saw The Hangover 2 in hopes it would be just as funny as the first one. But alas, we all know it wasn’t. All the “it’s the same exact movie!” jokes have already been made, so we’ll let them RIP for now and leave it there.
Despite everyone saying the movie sucked, it did well enough in theaters that they’re currently making a third one. They promise it’s going to be totally different than the last one. And by different, they probably mean set in a different country. But the rest will really just go along with the proven fill-in-the-blank method.
We don’t have to look any further than 21 & Over to see how much they enjoy just plugging things into their little equation. The movie stars three guys, who are totally different but stuck together for the weekend because they’re all friends from high school.
We have wacky Miller (Miles Teller), uptight Casey (Skylar Astin) and Asian Jeffery Chang (Justin Chon). Why Asian Jeffery Chang? Because the movie really wants you to know he’s Asian! Can there be too many cliched Asian jokes in a movie? The people who wrote this think the answer is no. Because isn’t it funny to talk about how Asian parents are the worst! They’re all like “you must go to med school or I’ll kill you!”
Asian jokes that I’m pretty sure are racist aside, the movie follows the classic Hangover path. Jeffery Chang has an incredibly important med school interview at 8 AM the next morning that he absolutely cannot miss. He makes this clear to Casey and Miller when they show up to his apartment to celebrate this 21st birthday. So obviously the movie consists of them going out, getting incredibly wasted, experiencing a variety of wacky hijinks and having Jeffery Chang all ready for his med school interview just in the nick of time. Oh plus a weird suicide subplot. Because the best way to talk about serious issues like suicide is in a movie where someone gets attacked by a loose buffalo after having a dart shot through his cheek.
Unlike The Hangovers, we get to see the entire crazy night go down. And it is crazy. Absolutely unbelievably crazy. We’re talking kidnapping, branding, spanking, milk-chugging, acid-tripping crazy. But it’s also predictable because we know from the its predecessors that they’ll get Jeffery Chang home in time for his interview. You know, because they always manage to pull it off. Every. Single. Time.
And I assure you this won’t be the last time we see this story. Because if I know Amurica like I think Amurica, this movie’s going to do really, really well at the box office. So look for the sequel in 2014! If we’re lucky it will come out at just the right time. The right time, of course, being at the same time as Hangover 4. Nothing like a hijinks-filled matinee.
(Photo: Live for Films)