21 Jump Street

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play a couple of high school classmates who find themselves thrust back into the high school fish tank years after graduating – this time as undercover cops. But their investigation isn’t the only thing they have to figure out. They find that they have residual issues from their own high school experiences that they need to work through, and of course, they need to figure out how to deal with each other.

It makes for a surprisingly funny movie that entertains all the way through.

Two high school classmates – one a none too bright jock, and one a helpless dork – reunite after graduation at the police academy. There, they bond due to having complimentary skills. Hill’s character is the brains, and can help Tatum study, while Tatum is the jock who can help Hill train. After totally botching their first arrest, they’re sent to a high school undercover program due to their youthful looks. Their task is to infiltrate the local high school and buddy up to the dealers of a new synthetic drug, and work their way to the supplier so they can stop him before there’s an epidemic on the streets.

Comedy ensues.

Hill and Tatum don’t actually fit in in today’s high school. Difficulties for the duo increase when Tatum flubs their identities early on, and the pre-fabricated covers for each of them are switched. Now Hill is expected to be the jock, and Tatum the brains. But even beyond that – Tatum, who was the popular one in high school, is now relegated in with the nerds, and Hill, who was the outcast in high school, is now in with the popular kids. Even though it’s an undercover assignment, the two find that that changes the dynamic between them, and they wind up playing out roles as if they were really going back through high school all over again.

The result is a movie that’s 1/3 Cop/Buddy Comedy, 1/3 Teen Party Movie, and 1/3 Fish out of Water Movie. It’s a fun mix. Tatum and Hill play off of each other really well, and the movie is cleverly written. There’s some really funny lines, and the overall plot/situations are pretty comical as well. They get help on a couple of different occasions from the supporting cast… Ice Cube is VERY funny as the angry Captain of the squad, Ellie Kemper is funny as the tempted teacher, and Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise show up when you least expect them, paying tribute to their “Jump Street” roots. Whether or not this movie sticks to the original show or not, I don’t really know, I didn’t watch it… but I will say I don’t think it matters much. They took the name and the high concept and worked it into something surprisingly saleable.

The direction here is good as well. Phil Lord and Chris Miller do an excellent job here in their first big screen live action effort (they collaborated on “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”). They keep a great sense of pacing and really help the comedy along with their editing. I hope they stay on for the inevitable sequel.

Because this movie will definitely get a call back. Reviews are good, and it opened well last night. I don’t want to get carried away, because I think if anything, this movie is going to get a little overrated coming out of the gate. But I was cracking up through most of it and enjoyed it all. It didn’t quite finish as strongly as it opened, but it was surprising how funny it was along the way. Tatum and Hill make a great duo, and I’ll definitely look forward to seeing them reprise these roles in a sequel.

A-

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30 thoughts on “21 Jump Street

  1. I’m really looking forward to this. I like Tatum and Hill so to see this film get good reviews makes me excited. If anything else, 21 Jump Street was a great TV show and hopefully it will make people look up the original show, even though it’s absolutely nothing like the film. Since someone on TME Ink’s already reviewed it (which takes a load off so) I can go in as a spectator and just enjoy the film. Hopefully it’s as good as people say it is.

    • Yeah, LOL. That must be nice.

      But yeah, I think you’ll enjoy it. Its a fun flick, and there seems to be a pretty solid consensus about it.

      I just want to be careful people dont get carried away with the hype, you know? It was a solid, funny flick. I dont think its the next “Anchorman” to draw a comparison to a movie you and I discussed this morning… it was just a good comedy.

      • I’m not expecting a Mel Brooks masterpiece or anything like that. I’m going in expecting a stupid comedy that will make me laugh for 100 minutes. If it can do that then I’ll be happy. I doubt I’ll be running through the halls of theater going “best comedy ever,” but if it’s enjoyable I’ll be happy.

        If anything I’m just happy to see Tatum doing well. I like the guy, even if most critics don’t.

  2. I was a huge 21 Jump Street fan back in the day… so when i heard this was coming out, i wanted to see it out of curiosity.

    It sounds nothing like the show, but i’m glad it was entertaining, I may check it out.

    • Having not watched the show, I cant be 100% sure, but I’m thinking youre right. I mean, I dont recall the tv show being a comedy. And this is straight up a comedy.

      Its a good comedy, but yeah, definitely played for laughs.

    • Ditto; avid watcher of tv ‘Street ; surprised at entertainment value here; may need to visit the realm of theaters for this.

      • Well, again, aside from the J Depp cameo, I dont know that this movie is going to correlate much to the show.

        Cant say.

        Though the high concept is essentially the same.

        It was funny though, lots of laughs. Audience was really into it,

  3. OMG, I’m excited!!!! I’m glad to see that Jonah Hill’s weight loss didn’t handicap his ability to be funny. i was worried about that.

    I’m actually watching this movie tomorrow, so I’ll let you know what I thought about it. I’m sure I’m going to love it too.

    • Yeah, I was too. It’s just a really funny comedy, Eric, you know? The bar’s not that high I guess. LOL

      It works… it makes you laugh. Check it out and let us know what you think!

  4. This was a total laugh riot with some of the best meta humor I have ever seen. The subversive nature of the whole thing put it over the top for me, but that it’s so damn consistently funny with a truly heartfelt relationship at the center make it all the more satisfying. Oh look I’m overrating it ;) LOL The one thing that made me laugh that no one else seemed to laugh at was after the Peter Pan play, the teacher says “and that’s the end of act 2″. haha

    • Hahaha! Yeahhh… let the hype begin. That’s alright, it was good.

      It was pretty self aware. I love the part where Offerman tells them that the people in charge keep regurgitating old ideas and hope we wont notice. That was TOO true! LOL

      Nah man, it was really good I agree. I dont know about THAT particular Peter Pan line, I suppose it was chuckle worthy but… :D I think all in all we saw the same movie.

  5. HAHA I get a kick out of small throwaway stuff like that. Just like the whole clue I didn’t catch about Cool Ranch Doritos!

  6. Good review. It’s interesting to me that these old shows all seem to be coming back by giving a comedic twist to them. (I saw the Dark Shadows trailer earlier and it does the same basic thing of adding comedic elements). It makes me wonder whether it could work the other way– A dramatic remake of Three’s Company? Laverne & Shirley: The Biopic? The Facts of Life as a horror film?

    • HAHHH!! A dramatic take on Three’s Company. Mr Furley as the antagonist, alway badgering them for the rent… a serious love triangle developing between Jack, Janet and Chrissy. Lots of arguing. LOL. THAT’S funny.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing a Facts of Life Horror film either! There’s been plenty of boarding school/private school slasher movies, why not?

      Thats funny stuff right there NTEMP, really good. :D

  7. Best comedy of the year. Hell, it’s one of the best movies period that I’ve seen in 2012, and we’re only in March. I think there’s a degree of that response that stems from the enormous surprise at the film’s quality; it stands up on its own merits after the shock wears off, but I won’t pretend that the way Jump Street so firmly strides above my expectations didn’t contribute to my response to it.

    This is a film in the vein of stuff like Superbad, which I think many more like than not; it’s raunchy, it’s inappropriate, it’s vulgar, but there’s a through-line of sincerity in its character relationships riding underneath all of the bawdy stuff. Schmidt and Jenko are the Seth and Evan of the new decade. Jump Street is as much about their bromance and friendship as it is about them catching the drug dealers responsible for pushing their hallucinogens on a high school campus (and, of course, satirizing the hell out of the dimwitted idea of sending youthful police officers undercover in high school).

    For me, Jump Street has two things working in its favor. One, it immediately acknowledges that a) the central concept of the original show, and thus the film, is stupid, and b) it’s recycling an old idea in that self-cannibalizing way Hollywood tends to do. Lord, Miller, and Bacall don’t waste any time taking the mickey out of the film’s central conceit, and I think that helps the movie find its feet straight off. Two, Channing Tatum is amazing. I haven’t had a strong feeling about the guy one way or another prior to this– I liked him well enough in Haywire but I haven’t seen A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints or The Eagle, and I think he was the least of G.I. Joe‘s problems. Now I’m way in his corner. He crushes it here. Every single moment he’s given, every single line of dialogue, he just nails perfectly. He stands toe-to-toe with a cast of battle-proven comedic actors and often makes them all look like newbies by comparison, though Hill never takes a backseat to Tatum, and they have AMAZING chemistry together.

    Also, (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER DON’T LOOK), the Johnny Depp/Peter DeLuise cameo at the end is genius. Fine, it’s not a huge spoiler in the way that talking about the end of Kill List or Silent House are spoilers, but it’s a great moment that shouldn’t be ruined. The theater I saw this with blew up at the reveal; it’s just perfect. I knew Depp would have a cameo here, but I had no idea he’d be playing Hanson– I more or less expected them to include him in a scene as a random character, and work dialogue around winking at the audience. His moment here doesn’t wink at the audience. It blatantly shouts at them. And it works beautifully. Loved it. (END SPOILER END SPOILER YOU SHOULDN’T BE LOOKING HERE ANYWAYS.)

    • You’re definitely higher on this flick than I am. I wouldnt disagree with you that its funny, or one of the best films so far this year or anything like that.

      But I give Superbad classic status. Like serious Comedy Classic status… and I cant ever see doing that with this one. I liked it a lot, but I didnt think it rose to that tier.

      I dont want to bash it or anything, I liked it a lot I did think it was a really good comedy. I just dont want to get carried away over it, personally.

      I agree though that the Depp/Delouise cameo was pretty awesome. LOL

      • Superbad‘s also been out for five years. It’s had time to mature. You can’t really compare the two in terms of iconic standing given the age difference, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Jump Street attained a well-revered status given the passing of time. It’s really good.

        A movie also doesn’t need to have status of any sort to be worth talking about. I mean, even if 21 Jump Street winds up being the movie I thought was the best comedy of the year, it’s still a really, really good comedy, and one that we’ll probably remember fondly years from now even if it’s not the new gold standard all comedy films should meet.

  8. Finally saw this on DVD & totally surprised myself when I actually found myself laughing. I did not expect to like this film as I was a fan of the TV series and wasn’t sure I was going to be a fan of a comedic take on it. However, much like Hotshots & Scary Movie were fun parodies, so too was 21 Jump Street. Loved the Depp/Deloise cameo!

    • Yeah, that cameo was pretty cool… unexpected. They actually surprised me with it! :D

      I thought it was funny too… although I had no predispositions. I’d seen the show, but barely remembered it to be honest.

  9. I made it through the first 12 minutes before I had to turn it off it was so awful. Didn’t even make it to where they got past the “37 Jump Street.. no wait, that doesn’t sound right…” groan. next.

    • Wow. Should give it a shot man… it was a big hit last year, and favorably reviewed by most, not just me. A lot of people were calling for this one to win the MAJOR for Most Surprising…

      Sorry to hear you couldnt connect with it. :(

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