Oh, for those innocent days of yore, when “The Hangover” was a malady and not a movie.
It seems like millennia since the binge comedy became the new normal. But here comes “21 and Over,” taking rude to a new level of crude, a postracial romp through one epic night on one Asian-American collegian’s 21st birthday.
“Hangover” scribes Scott Moore and Jon Lucas co-wrote and directed this sometimes inspired, often funny and occasionally psychotic pub crawl through the long dark night of Jeff Chang’s soul.
Jeff Chang (Justin Chon from “Twilight”) is a catchphrase, a punch line and a punching bag, all in one.
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He’s the Ken Jeong “Hangover” character here, a wild-partying break from Asian stereotypes. All he may want to do is sleep the night before a big internship interview. But his gonzo pal Miller (Miles Teller of “Project X”) and more responsible friend Casey (Skylar Astin of “Pitch Perfect”) want to get him blind drunk.
All they have to do is take him back to his apartment, sober and cleaned-up, by the time the kid’s comically stern dad (Francois Chau) shows up. Which we guess, from the film’s opening scene, they won’t manage. Because, when we first meet them, Miller and Casey are naked and branded, stalking across campus in the early morning light, muttering, “This never happened.”
The night starts with beer, and it staggers from a sorority house and a pep rally to the campus police station and infirmary.
Jeff Chang is passed out. Miller and Casey don’t remember his address. The night is their quest to get this student in a stupor back home.
Lucas and Moore swap the homophobic riffs of “The Hangover” for comical jabs at race.
“21 and Over” becomes a drag when a gun shows up and when Jeff Chang’s dark secret and Miller’s embarrassing revelation come out.
But the bottom line is: “Is it funny, on top of all the shocks?” Yes, it is.