Yes, that’s right… chick flick.
21 & Over caters to a female audience just as much (if not more so) than its targeted male audience. Sure, there is a lot of profanity and lewd comments, but if you’re like me (a sassy girl in her 20s who curses like a sailor), this film is right up your alley for several reasons.
One would assume that a Rated R flick aimed at guys would be chock-full of female nudity and objectification of women, but this film is an exception that rule. There were maybe four or five instances of seeing women’s boobs, but all instances were brief and of the characters own decisions. Guys were never spying on naked woman and women were not forced to show their breasts. Instead, women were flashing their boobs to throw off their beer pong competitors’ games, or running topless through a pep rally-turned riot.
Instead, this film featured a lot of what my brother would refer to as “man butt.” Two of our protagonists walk around in nothing but a tube sock covering their junk for at least 10 minutes of the movie’s running time. (This isn’t a spoiler – they are seen this way within the first few seconds of the film.) Their bodies are on display for their own embarrassment, as well as the enjoyment of a sorority that they pissed off somewhere along the plot. The film’s stars Skylar Astin and Miles Teller are both attractive guys with nice bodies and a good sense of humor. I did not mind in the slightest watching the two of them walking around with their bodies on display.
21 & Over was a laugh-out-loud comedy with moments of serious and heartfelt drama (you gotta bring the audience down so you can lift them back up again – this is a standard for storytelling). Though there were arguably more funny moments than not in this film (Jeff Chang progressively getting more violent in how he showed bouncers his ID were a high point for me), I always gravitate to the parts where the characters hit a conflict and have to work through their issues.
Taking Jeff Chang out drinking for his 21st birthday was only the catalyst for the main plot of the film. Casey (Astin), Miller (Teller) and Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) were besties in high school who remained friends throughout college, though they still drifted apart. Throughout the film, each character finds out important life details about the other characters which make them all ask themselves “Why didn’t I know this?”. This film was so relatable because we all do that… we all have friends who we were close with, but somehow have lost touch or missed out on big moments because there was a dip in communication. This film shows the realities of growing up and growing apart. This is something we all deal with, but it hurts when you see it unfolding before your eyes.
In that way, this film reminded me a lot of Superbad (BFFs who end up arguing because they care so much about the other person but they are too stubborn to just talk about it until after the fight and then they realize they need to talk about it because talking it out is the only real solution). Personally, I love watching movies about guy friends where they get in disagreements and then have to express their feelings to resolve their conflicts. It’s great to see male characters – especially younger guys who think they are hardasses or cooler than they probably are – be vulnerable with their emotions. There’s also a heavy plot line that deals with parental expectation and how one deals (or doesn’t deal) with external and internal stressers. (See – heavy shit, man.)
This is also a chick flick because of Casey/Skylar Astin. Between this and Pitch Perfect, Skylar Astin has secured himself a spot in the “super attractive, talented and funny yet still kind of nerdy” actor category (see also: Darren Criss and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). He’s a guy’s guy, but he’s sensitive. He can drink and get crazy, but he’s more interested in what a woman is saying than how big her tits are. This is the kind of male character that females like me and my girlfriends love. He fights for the girl, he tries to take care of his friends, and he dresses like Ted Mosby. The kid is charming, extremely likable and looks like Dane Cook’s sexy younger brother. (If you haven’t already seen Pitch Perfect, stop reading and find a copy of this film. Also, you may as well check out Hamlet 2… it’s not great, but it’s decent.)
I’m so glad I saw 21 & Over. Sure, it’s predictable and there are a million swear words, but the actors have great chemistry and a lot of the jokes really deliver. (Slow-motion vomiting, however, is never a winner. I wish movies would just stop that already.) I hadn’t laughed that loud or often in a long while. If you want to get your chuckle on enough for your smiles to hurt, I highly recommend 21 & Over. It’s honestly the most entertaining chick flick I’ve seen in a long time.