Friday, 3 May 2013

Review: 21 and Over

World of Blackout Film Review

21 and Over Poster

21 and Over
Cert: 15 / 93 mins / Dir. Jon Lucas / Scott Moore

It's largely because of my selfless services to cinema and the critical fraternity, that the staff of my local like to occasionally give me my own private screening of a film, and today was one of those*1. Bless them, they know me so well*2.

So. 21 and Over. This is what you could make if you had $13m burning a hole in your pocket and you wanted to spend $0 of that on a screenplay. That's not to say it's "badly" written, although it's certainly badly edited (the film suffers from heavy expositiony-bits-in-the-trailer-not-in-the-film syndrome, and several heavily laid-down callbacks are lying on a cutting-room floor somewhere), yet ultimately even that can't dent a vehicle as lazy as this. The film almost ends up being acquitted by its own low standards. Almost.

The central characters are as likeable/annoying/quirky as they're meant to be, and the various set-pieces are smirk-worthy, but there are no belly-laughs and the second-tier of characters (Randy, the jock; Dr Chang, the strict father; Nicole, The Hot Babe™) are barely even one dimensional. The problem is, we've seen all of this before, and we don't care any more. I can't work out if the fact that it's penned by the writers of The Hangover makes it better somehow, or much much worse. Plagiarising your own work before the final part comes out seems baffling to me, but Lucas & Moore have gone and done it.

The film's great blessing, ironically, is that it sticks so rigidly to the prescribed format. Everything runs like clockwork to the point that it doesn't have time to drag, which is often a problem these days when writers/directors/editors think that an extra 20 minutes of the same drawn out gags is improving things, when it clearly isn't. No, 21 and Over is a solid*3 hour-and-a-half film, and is slightly*4 better for it.

I can't bring myself to actively dislike it; the film's doing what it was designed to do, sadly that means it's often boring by necessity. And there's certainly much worse out there. Just don't pay money to see this.

50% American Pie.
45% The Hangover.
5% Ferris Bueller.
0% Charm.

Is the trailer representative of the film?

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Telly. If you must.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
How much longer can the gross-out-teen-comedy genre continue without a rest and a reboot? 1999's American Pie was like a breath of fresh air at the time, but so many of today's comparable films still seem to be milking the format (including, let's face it, the last American Pie movie). And when the trope finally goes into a cinematic coma, what will be the backlash? Something along the lines of emo/feelgood films, closer to the John Hughes model?

Comments box! Let me know!

*1 Translation: No-one else purchased a ticket, Unlimited or otherwise, for the 13:45 showing of this movie, so I was the only one in there. It's nice having the cinema to yourself, and I still won't break The Code and look at my phone, but I wish it'd been for a better film. Although that's exactly why I watched it alone. There were people coming in for Iron Man 3 at that time. Even I can't justify seeing that again just yet…
*2 Translation: They know how I like my coffee. Most of them do, anyway. That chap with the glasses, he never remembers. He always asks, anyway.
*3 Translation: Predictable.
*4 Translation: Barely.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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