PLOT: On the eve of a big interview, a tightly wound college student cuts loose with two friends. Rated R
BOTTOM LINE: Everything you hated about "The Hangover," and nothing you liked, in this racist, misogynistic, unfunny party flick
CAST: Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin, Sarah Wright
Remember the days following Barack Obama's election, when citizens trumpeted the dawn of a "post-racial" era? If you're still optimistically blowing that horn, this will plug it: "21 & Over," a collegiate comedy apparently aimed at a fresh new generation of bigots.
Misogynists and homophobes, too. But first things first. Writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore make their directorial debut with this younger-skewing repeat of their bad-boy comedy "The Hangover." On the eve of a med-school interview, stressed-out Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) toasts his 21st birthday with straitlaced Casey (Skylar Astin, "Pitch Perfect") and wild-man Miller (Miles Teller, 2011's "Footloose"). One drink becomes three, then 20, and soon the two white guys are dragging an unconscious Asian all over campus.
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Is that racist? Not inherently, but Miller, our supposedly lovable loudmouth, affectionately refers to Jeff with an Asian slur, mocks his driving ("Are your eyes open right now? I can't tell") and always calls him "Jeff Chang," as if the surname is the funny part. As a result, the scenes of Jeff's body being dropped, thrown and defaced feel a little dehumanizing. He's a mere prop, like the baby that Zach Galifianakis carried around in "The Hangover." Jeff is, in fact, repeatedly called "the baby."
"21 & Over" doesn't stop there. It also gives us a sorority full of butchy Latinas, two Serbian thugs (at a college?) and one glancing reference to "you Jew."
The worst treatment is saved for women, who are useful mainly when the guys need to wedge a shot-glass somewhere. And only a man would dream up Casey's glittering prize, Nicole (Sarah Wright), a chesty flirt with a lollipop fixation.
All, or at least some, might be forgiven if there were just one likable character or memorable joke.
Well, at least "21 & Over" doesn't mock black people. There aren't any in it.
PLOT On the eve of a big interview, a tightly wound college student cuts loose with two friends. RATING R
CAST Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin, Sarah Wright
BOTTOM LINE Everything you hated about "The Hangover," and nothing you liked, in this racist, misogynistic, unfunny party flick