If 21 and Over were a guest, it would be a little late to the party, retelling some of the same jokes everyone else had already heard earlier. The all-night party film is a winning formula in American movies, combining rites of passage with complete physical abandon. The co-writers of one such movie, The Hangover, came up with 21 and Over, about two misfits who take their buddy Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) out drinking on his 21st birthday, knowing that he must be up by 7 a.m. for an important job interview.
One misfit, Miller (Miles Teller), is fast-talking and carefree, though this belies a deep inadequacy. The other misfit, Casey (Skylar Astin), is nerdy and on the fast track to a corporate job, but he has no feel for life or love. Jeff Chang gets drunk, throws up, urinates, passes out, is thrown off of a building and wears funny things. The friends learn to loosen up, love life and strengthen their bonds. They also play beer pong.
Yes, you’ve seen it all before, and done better, ranging from last year’s Project X to the Harold and Kumar movies, Superbad and many others. But the dialogue alone—silly, punchy, self-aware riffs, decorated with hundreds of uses of “dude”—keeps it going. A male cheerleader as a villainous bully, for example, isn’t too funny, but one of his lackeys yelling, “Crush his spirit, Randy!” is pretty funny.