"21 and Over" could celebrate that magical moment when the final barrier to adulthood falls by the wayside, as the act of legally buying alcohol instantly goes from forbidden to routine. However, the movie just uses the moment as a springboard to a cynical college-age "Hangover" redo with far, far fewer fully developed characters or inventive adventures. (And that's saying something.)
Rascally chatterbox Miller (Miles Teller) and somewhat more together Casey (Skylar Astin) surprise their old friend Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) on his birthday with the prospect of a night of drunken wildness, more for them than him since he has a very important med school interview early the next morning. Drinks are drunk, Chang vomits (in slo-mo) while riding a mechanical bull, Miller and Casey are branded in a hazing prank gone awry, and they can't find their way back to Chang's apartment.
The film traffics in a dispiriting worldview of purposeful stupidity, which leads to the casual, unthinking racism, sexism, bigotry and general blinkered perspective that is the scourge of our era of optimized search — nothing matters outside their immediate, preconceived sphere.
The film has a strange obsession with race, the patter peppered with references to who is a what, be it white, Asian or Hispanic, though really no blacks because that would be awkward. A large pair of fellows are even pinned as being "ethnic Serbs." The film's ostensible villains, apart from a world that doesn't always want to party, are angry Latinas and an overbearing Asian father. Add to that a single character meant to combine a romantic obstacle, fastidious male cheerleader and lunkhead jock all in one — he may be called Randy, but he could just as easily be named Plot Contrivance.