Film Review: 21 and Over

21 and Over

21 and Over is pretty standard college-based comedy fare. Whilst there are some laughs, they are not enough to make the film really memorable.

Jeff Chang’s best friends from school, Casey and Miller, surprise him on his 21st birthday. The pair have a big night out planned, but Jeff has an important medical school interview the next morning. Casey and Miller suggest a few drinks, but this quickly descends into something else…

From the writers of The Hangover, the parallels between the basic premise of the 2009 hit and 21 and Over are abundant. The narrative features standard mishaps. There is not  a whole lot of originality in Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s film.

There are laughs in 21 and Over, although the film does rely upon crude humour. The dialogue apes the quick-fire insulting of Superbad, although it isn’t as successful. Some of the derogatory remarks hit the mark, while others appear a little tired.

The second half of the film ushers in a little seriousness in terms of the motivations of the main characters. This plays out in a rather schmaltzy manner. In attempting to inject some sincerity into the story, the filmmakers call for a depth that simply is not there. This is not a huge hindrance, but the attempted emotion adds nothing to the overall plot.

21 and Over features the requisite elements of the  American young male comedy. The soundtrack is integral at times; with the party sequences being raucous.

Performances in 21 and Over are fine. Sklar Astin and Justin Chon are believable as Casey and Jeff Chang respectively. Miles Teller is in danger of being typecast in this type of role however.

21 and Over adds little to the comedy genre. Those who go in will likely   know what to expect, and will probably enjoy the film as a result.

Film Review: Pitch Perfect

Musical comedy Pitch Perfect is a lot of fun precisely because it does not take itself too seriously. A light-hearted film, which most viewers should find agreeable.

University freshman Beca is reluctant to join in with campus activities, despite the protestations of her dad. She is coerced into joining The Bellas, an all-girl a capella group. The Bellas are desperate to beat their campus rivals and fare better in the competition than their previous year’s entry…

Following the success of television series Glee comes Pitch Perfect. Director Jason Moore knows that audiences will make a connection between the two and there is a pointed reference near the beginning that distinguishes the film from the television show. From the trailer, it is difficult to ascertain the tone of Moore’s film. Thankfully, Pitch Perfect does not disappoint.

Pitch Perfect is at once an amiable spoof of the likes of Glee and a late-teen comedy romance in its own right. The combination of these aspects works well. Without each other, it is doubtful that the film would be as enjoyable as it is. Based on Mickey Rapkin’s book,  the straightforward tale of a freshman’s first year of university is brought to life through humour and music.

Pitch Perfect features a great selection of songs, particularly those from the 1990s. The throwback to earlier decades is further cemented through the reference to a classic eighties teen movie. It is clear where the filmmakers found their inspiration when making Pitch Perfect. Although it has a contemporary setting, the inclusion of 1980s and 1990s references suggest a nostalgia for this era.

Anna Kendrick is well cast as protagonist Beca. Skylar Astin is pleasant as love interest Jesse. It is Rebel Wilson who often steals the show, however, as Amy. Pitch Perfect is a light and enjoyable film which should receive few complaints.