A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 21 and Over was written and directed by the same team that wrote The Hangover and features the same type of raunchy humor, if perhaps at not quite the same level of excess (though it's plenty over the top!). The comedy follows three friends through a single night of debauchery as they celebrate a 21st birthday, a momentous event that they believe should be celebrated by getting as wasted as possible. They drink at parties, they drink at bars, they even drink in a taxi. Then they drink some more, until one of them is completely passed out. There's a string of misadventures, a few fights, and some sexual harassment -- plus near-nonstop profanity ("f--k," "s--t" and much more), people smoking pot at a party, and a few brief glimpses of topless women and almost-nude men seen from behind. Men make out in one scene.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's Jeff's (Justin Chon) birthday, and Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) -- his two best friends from high school -- show up unannounced to celebrate. And because he's turning 21, it's (apparently) his duty to get as drunk as possible, a task all three embrace with gusto. Over the course of one wild night in 21 AND OVER, the three guys get wasted, assaulted by a psycho male cheerleader, trampled by a buffalo, and kidnapped by hostile sorority sisters. It's a night that none of them will forget ... except that there are parts that might be hard for them to remember.
Is it any good?
Lost amid the bros-gone-wild shenanigans of 21 and Over is an interesting story about male friendships and brotherhood. Emphasis on "lost." Because, aside from the rare bits when the story delves into why guys do or don't support each other in times of trouble or confusion, what we get is unoriginal, crass material that fails to capture the subversive fun of The Hangover.
21 and Over was directed by the guys who wrote that 2009 bachelor party-gone-bad hit, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, and they're clearly trying to capture the proverbial lighting in a bottle once more. No can do. The jokes are either tired or sexist -- and in some cases, both. The characters are one-dimensional and stereotypical (oh, wow, an Asian father who's obsessed with his son going to med school), and their night-of-endless-snafus just really isn't all that amusing. Instead of a night out, they probably should've called it a night.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie portrays drinking. Is it glamorized? Are any of the consequences realistic? What message does that send?
Parents may also want to put an over-the-top comedy like this in perspective. The movie's antics come at you fast and furiously, making some of the laughs mostly about the shock value. What other movies and TV shows have a similar comedy style? What's the appeal of this kind of humor?
Talk about the friendships at the heart of the movie. Do they feel real? Do these guys actually care for each other?
- In theaters: March 1, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: June 18, 2013
- Cast: Justin Chon, Miles Teller, Skylar Astin
- Directors: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs and drinking
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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