On some level, almost everybody thinks his or her life might make an interesting movie. This is especially the case for the highly narcissistic, self-obsessed, and generally hedonistic sort... you know, college kids. In every dorm room, every frat house, every library rave (go Bearcats!), there is one big-dreaming student who thinks, with confidence, that his/her personal college experience would fare excellently on the big screen.
That might well be how many of the screenplays for college comedies start out: an attempt to translate honest and genuine, and as a result funny, stories from real life to the art of cinema. But there exists a frequent hiccup in the process — the idea, be it that of the writers, the directors, the producers, that reality just isn't funny enough. That sensationalism serves the medium better. That a movie about college kids loafing, goofing, and palling around doesn't hold a candle to one with car chases, massive fight scenes, and free roaming buffalo. And that's exactly what we see in the new trailer for 21 & Over.
This is the latter type of college comedy, following in the footsteps of the outlandish Van Wilder and College as opposed to the less outlandish, and supremely more entertaining/culturally lasting Animal House (when you think back upon that movie, there isn't a whole lot of really absurd stuff going on, the ending excluded). In this new movie, ne'er-do-wells Skylar Astin and Miles Teller bestow upon their straight-laced friend Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) a 21st birthday to end all 21st birthdays. A story that could be winning if it wanted, but that seems to opt for the insanity factor over relatability. Check out the trailer below, and weigh in on whether you think this movie is going a bit too far.
[Photo Credit: John Johnson/Relativity Media]
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What no "giant sea pods" this time? Instead The Invasion skews the Body Snatchers scenario by making the alien invasion a virus rather than plant life. Said virus which comes to Earth via a mysterious crash of a space shuttle is transmitted by some form of bodily fluid-to-bodily fluid connection. For example throwing up into people's faces or coffee cups is a fun way to spread the disease. The end result however is the same: Once the infected person falls asleep they undergo a transformation and wake up looking the same but are unfeeling and inhuman—and ready to organize. As the infection spreads and more and more people are altered there are a few humans left fighting for their lives including psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and her doctor friend Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig). Carol’s only hope is to stay awake long enough to find her young son who may hold the key to stopping the devastating invasion. But we won’t tell you how. OK it has something to do with an immunity but that’s all we are going to say. Nicole Kidman has had a string of bad luck since winning that damn Oscar for The Hours. One wonders if maybe the golden statuette might actually be a curse (Cuba Gooding Jr. anyone?). Still regardless of the movie--be it Bewitched The Stepford Wives or Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus--Kidman manages to turn in a decent performance. The same goes for The Invasion. Her mother bear act is quite believable as she races to find her son (played with spunk by Jackson Bond) while trying to stay awake and pretending to be cold and unemotional among the pod people--oh excuse me the virally infected people. You root for her all the way. Craig doesn’t have as much to do but still delivers when it counts. In a supporting role Jeremy Northam does a nice job as Carol’s ex-husband a CDC doctor who is one of the first to get infected. As does the always good Jeffrey Wright as a very clever genetic scientist. Even Veronica Cartwright one of the survivors in the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers makes a cameo as one of Carol’s patients who tells her “My husband isn’t my husband!” Famous last words. Body snatching must be a popular water-cooler topic at the movie studios. Starting with the 1956 sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers in which Kevin McCarthy barely escapes his small town with his life running into highway traffic screaming “They're here already! You're next! You're next You're next...” there have been at least two other versions including the above-mentioned 1978 film and the 1993 film Body Snatchers. To its credit The Invasion switches things up a bit nixing the pods and making it more relevant to our current socio-political climate. It even begs the question: Could we be better off if we didn’t have emotions? But the movie is still mired by its derivativeness and too-pat ending—and it also apparently had problems getting off the shelf. Originally wrapped in early 2006 rumor has it the studio didn’t like German director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s original cut and brought in Matrix’s Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski for rewrites and James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) to direct the new scenes. Again to its credit The Invasion surprisingly feels cohesive despite all the different influences. Let’s just say whoever came up with the tense car chase in which Carol tries to throw off the pod people (it's just more effective calling them that) draped all over the car kudos to them.