Movie review: 21 Dumb Street
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If you're the target demographic for the film "21 and Over" (read: white, youngish, male and educated at a nondescript state university), there's a good chance you'll find a laugh or two.
The film follows Casey (Skylar Astin), Miller (Miles Teller) and Jeff Chang (Justin Chon), three almost college grads, on a night of irreverent debauchery in celebration of Jeff's 21st birthday.
Casey is the preppy self-involved alpha, Miller is the slightly dopey friend who whines about how much less Casey wants to party since he landed a finance job postgraduation, and Jeff is the nondescript Asian kid who is referred to by his full name, lest we forget that he's only going to med school because his severe Asian dad wants him to.
2 stars = Mediocre
Miles Teller, Justin Chon and Skylar Astin.
R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs and drinking.
Imagine Casey and Miller's horror when they arrive to learn that their drinking plans might be foiled by Jeff's med school interview the following morning.
That's the main driver of the action, which has plenty of contrived interludes and aims to achieve the situational absurdity that makes "Superbad" and "The Hangover" gold standards in the genre.
But despite its best efforts, "21 and Over" will fade into irrelevance in about the time it took to show two hot sorority girls making out with each other. In case you're wondering, that's about 30 minutes.
As a viewer who fits squarely into the film's target audience, I know why I'm supposed to like this film.
It's supposed to let me falsely romanticize my invincible college years when vomiting in slow motion, getting thrown off roofs and getting the letters of a sorority branded on my butt were entirely consequence-free.
And plenty of people will allow this film to serve that worn-out purpose.
The film gropes at larger and more interesting issues about old friends drifting apart, figuring out what to do after graduation and confronting your parents about leaving behind plans for a prestigious career.
But because the characters are capable of handling these issues only in McNugget-sized quantities, the film loses an opportunity to be more than it is -- to say something about the people it's stereotyping.
Not every version of this slapstick comedy must be a meditation on the transition out of college life, but wouldn't it be nice if they tried?
First Published March 1, 2013 12:00 am