Did you have the pleasure of seeing 21 & Over this weekend? Judging by the $9 million it made – that’s a 3 day total – probably not many of you did. I did, however, because why not, right? 21 makes Project X look like a masterpiece (and in hindsight, Project X was only a little racist but a lot of fun, right?).
I don’t think I need to explain the plot of the film to you because if you’ve seen the trailer, if you’ve heard the commercials, you’ve pretty much seen the film. That must also mean you’ve heard one of the major character’s names about 100 times. Jeff Chang ring a bell? Jeff Chang is the Asian character in the film. His name is repeated maybe 50 times to drive home the point that he’s Asian. In case you missed it, Jeff Chang – Chang is his last name, because he’s Asian – is Asian. Jeff Chang is Asian. Get it?
It goes beyond Jeff Chang. The racism in 21 & Over is staggering. If you are Asian, Mexican, Russian, German and a woman, you might want to avoid this movie. It’s not as homophobic as Project X, though, so that’s good. Do young males talk like this? For sure. I’m not denying that fact because this type of ignorance is very present in society. What I have a problem with is the glorification of it to make the audience laugh. You can use slurs to prove a point (see: Django) but not when it’s used to be funny (see: any Todd Phillips movie, The Dilemma, about 200 other movies..). But why am I explaining this to you? Why do I have to even write this in 2013? Like, this is NOT okay, right?
There’s a specific scene in the film that really struck me. This isn’t a spoiler, so don’t worry. The two white male leads stumble into a Latin female fraternity looking for a girl who can help them. Turns out they’re in the wrong fraternity house and hide in a bedroom. Waiting in the bedroom are two girls who are blindfolded because this is a part of their initiation. What’s their headmasters task? Naturally, the girls need to be spanked. (I swear Chevy Chase wrote this movie…) The Two White Male Leads take it upon themselves to spank the girls – with paddles – because they’re straight and horny and men and thats what men do, didn’t you know? The girls take the spanking, because women are submissive and dumb. The Two White Male Leads then ask the girls to make out, still pretending this is part of the initiation. The girls clue on that this isn’t their FEMALE headmaster giving them orders, but make out anyways because women are dumb and submissive and Jeff Chang is Asian, didn’t you know? The scene is wrong for 100 reasons but the major one is that Women Are Dumb.
I could go on but I won’t because I don’t want to spoil this gem for you. But I ask you this, when did it become okay for teen movies to be like this? Superbad and Mean Girls are smart and not racist. When did this happen? Where is John Hughes? I miss John Hughes. But I’m in the minority because that Jeff Chang joke killlllllllled you guys because Jeff Chang is Asian and Asian people have the last name Chang and that’s funnnnny. Duh!