The marketing for 21 and Over is trading on “From the guys who brought you The Hangover,” so we will too. From the guys who brought you The Hangover comes this interview with CraveOnline. We sat down with writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore about their directorial debut, 21 and Over. The party comedy follows Casey (Skylar Astin), Miller (Miles Teller) and Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) on Jeff’s 21st birthday, trying to get him home safely after a night of drunken partying. The interview was held at Hollywood’s Saddle Ranch bar, and we sat in a booth next to the mechanical bull.
21 and Over opens in theaters on March 1(USA), March 7 (AUS) and March 29 (UK).
Crave Online: In success, could you write your own ticket or was there still the caveat it had to be a party movie, something they could sell as the guy who brought us The Hangover?
Scott Moore: Look, I think that helped and I definitely do not think we are anywhere near the level where we can write our own ticket.
Jon Lucas: Have you heard we can write our own ticket? We will totally write our own ticket. It’ll be a lot easier. No, I don’t think we ever would have been allowed to direct if it hadn’t been for all the great things Todd [Phillips] did on The Hangover. All that said, I think hopefully now, now that we’ve directed one, the first one is kind of the biggest hurdle in some ways. We’re getting sent stuff to direct which I’m kind of blown away. People haven’t seen our movie yet. It could be terrible. You don’t know.
Scott Moore: That’s how Hollywood works.
Jon Lucas: Wait ‘til you see it before you give us a job. But yeah, we’re hoping to keep doing it. We really loved it.
There seems to be a trend in American comedies, and not just since The Hangover, but very pro party animals and “responsible people suck.” What are your thoughts on that trend?
Jon Lucas: That’s funny. I don’t know that that’s true. I actually think the fun of movies is you go to live the life you don’t actually have. I think if everyone lived like they did in our movies, our country would be almost half dead. No one would be getting through it.
Scott Moore: Movies are very much an escapist form of entertainment and you go to Pandora because you don’t get to go to Pandora in your regular life. I think being a crazy party animal as you say is something that most people don’t do in their regular life so that’s something that’s fun to experience in a movie. I would not want to go to a movie to experience my life which is incredibly boring.
Jon Lucas: Responsible choices. The movie called Responsible Choices is not a very good movie. Like Scott said, we feel really lucky to get to do what we do but you can see by the way we’re dressed, we’re not the people we write. We write from a place of nostalgia where our lives were crazier. I wouldn’t say they were ever even close to what we write, but it’s a fun way for us to stay feeling young, stay young, in some ways to stay attached to that wilder [time]. When you have babies at home and wives and a lot of responsibilities, it’s fun to have your job be your escape in some ways from the responsibilities of your regular life.
Is the other side of my question that if these sorts of movies proliferated after The Hangover, is that what people got out of The Hangover?
Jon Lucas: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember I saw some interview with Oliver Stone. He’s like, he made Wall Street and it was supposed to be a cautionary tale. The whole point of the movie Wall Street was don’t go to Wall Street. That movie is responsible for bringing that entire generation of people [to the finance industry]. And I wouldn’t say our movies are cautionary tales but they sort of are. I think you survive the night, but I think at the end of it, I don’t think anyone looks at either The Hangover or 21 and Over and go, “Man, they made some great choices and it really worked out.” It worked out but only because they stuck together as friends and they made certain good choices in their relationships, but not because firing a gun at a pep rally is a particularly good idea. I think part of it is just to laugh at it. I feel like so much of male humor is tied up with just being who’s a bigger idiot. That’s what our careers are based on.
One of them dropped out of school so if he learns to go back, that’s good. But one character is questioning his career path because it’s business.
Jon Lucas: Personally I think that’s a good thing. I guess it’s all a matter of point of view, but one less kid who’s going off to go work at Goldman is probably a good thing.
Sure, Wall Street today is a bad guy but in general, being passionate about business and finance isn’t necessarily a bad direction in life.
Jon Lucas: That’s true. That’s very true. I would just say for Casey, for that character specifically, he’s doing something in my opinion that he’s doing because he wants to make money but his heart isn’t in it. He isn’t passionate about that.
The coercion of the sorority girls to make out reminded me there’s a full on rape in Revenge of the Nerds. Lewis wears a mask and Betty thinks it’s her boyfriend. That could have gone really badly for Lewis. Is rape sort of the ugly secret of comedy?
Jon Lucas: Oh man, no. That scene, I will definitely say, when we wrote that, when we shot that and we worked with the actresses in that scene, we were very much aware that that was in my mind the edgiest moment where you’re like, “Are we going to lose our audience here because this is a little off putting?” I think why we get away with it, I think, is because at the end the guys get punished for their sins. I think people are okay with doing all sorts of bad things as long as the people who do the bad things, the guys get theirs and then some. That’s in my mind how it balances out the movie. If there’s never any justice off that moment, I think that would have been a problem with the movie for sure.
Well, I knew it was a loaded question and I thought you guys could handle it.