Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writing duo behind the hilarity of “The Hangover” present a college-themed comedy packed with more drinking and thumping music in the form of “21 and Over.”
To his misfortune, Jeff Chang’s (Justin Chon, “Twilight”) 21st birthday falls on the night before an important medical school entrance interview. When some old high school buddies decide to pay him a surprise visit for the occasion, the night’s expectations change from restful to bedlam.
Jeff’s friends Miller (Miles Teller, “Project X”) and Casey (Skylar Astin, “Pitch Perfect”) lay some hefty peer pressure on Jeff and pull him out to a bar, where glasses are drained until Jeff can no longer speak.
This presents a problem when they cannot remember the way back to Jeff’s place. In an attempt to find someone that knows the address of the birthday boy, Miller and Casey end up hopping from party to party as the student body spends the night celebrating an upcoming game.
Along the way, they meet the friendly Nicole (Sarah Wright, “Parks and Recreation”) and find new enemies in a bravado-juiced cheerleader and his respectful cronies.
Much of the dialogue is presented in the form of jokes that find a way to link the plot from one drinking game montage to the next. Some of these jokes resonate with the target audience, while others suffer from strained clichés of the stereotypical “college experience.”
As the movie develops, the two conscious friends uncover more about the recent life of their passed-out companion they drag between them. Much like “The Hangover,” a mystery is unraveled about Jeff as the movie progresses, and finding a way to get him home plays out like a scavenger hunt to gather clues about his college life. Realizing how out of touch they have been, the boys come to realize how their friendship has changed.
Many of the situations in which the characters find themselves are truly funny, mostly in a karma-induced, self-humiliating way. Despite how crude some of their statements are throughout the film, the protagonists somehow end up likable. Jeff becomes a particularly endearing character once his intimidating father (François Chau, “Lost”) begins to hunt the boys, though Jeff’s incoherence for the majority of the film prompts the audience to desire more of his voice.
The romance that develops between Casey and Nicole seems forced and distracts from the thematic “bromance” at the heart of the film. Nevertheless, much of the party-themed humor is genuine, and many will have fun watching the characters drunkenly fumble through the obstacles their pumping environment provides.