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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: June 27: 21 Jump Street

Wednesday

June 27: 21 Jump Street

"A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring."
Directed by: Phil Lord & Chris Miller Rated: R, 109 minutes

21 Jump Street is easily the best comedy of the year so far and is a breath of fresh air in a Hollywood dominated by shitty Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry movies. It's raunchy and it's loud and it pokes fun at the original 1980s TV show while also making fun of the generation of dumbass high school kids who, although "environmentally aware", think the Titanic was just a movie and that the only way to communicate with one another is through an iPhone their rich parents bought them. 21 Jump Street does a great job at showing that high school is nothing like what it appeared to be in the 80s and 90s, while reminding us that some things never change (cliques, popularity wars, and of course, drug use). Led by Jonah Hill 2.0 (he lost a bunch of weight for the role) and the actual funny Channing Tatum, 21 Jump Street delivers plenty of laughs, enough surprises to keep everything from being too predictable, and a good amount of heart to make the craziness that ensues all the more relatable and human. 

And you can't talk about heart without talking about Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and his manly, meat-clogged arteries. Yes, he has a small role. 

The story follows Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum), two young, fresh out of the academy police officers who want to be the hot-shot cops you see in the movies. After a complete botching of their first arrest, the partners are "demoted" to an undercover police operation, under the watchful eye of an "angry black police captain" played by Ice Cube. In the operation, they are to assume the identities of two high school kids in order to infiltrate a drug ring that is selling a nasty kind of fun to the school's teenagers. Ironically, Schmidt and Jenko went to high school together, but were in completely different leagues of each other, Schmidt being a brace-face nerd and Jenko being the hot shot star athlete. Schmidt sees this as a chance to be cool, something he was never able to be, and tries his hardest to do so. Jenko, however, finds that the changed times prevent him from doing what he did to be cool when he was in high school, and he finds himself falling down the social ladder very quickly. Schmidt has the time of his life, even falling in love with Molly, a senior in his drama class, while Jenko is learning what covalent bonds are in his chemistry class. 


Because clearly folks, Tatum is awful at chemistry. 

Speaking of which, Hill and Tatum have great chemistry together and work off each other incredibly well. Hill proves to be the "veteran" in the funny department, but Tatum holds his own, proving that he needs to be utilize in comedies, as opposed to his romantic lead/dramatic dancer roles. I genuinely enjoy watching the two work off each other and the possible lead in to a sequel makes me excited that I can see them together again. The rest of the cast is filled out nicely as well, with small parts for Chris Parnell (SNL), Rob Riggle (The Daily Show), Ellie Kemper (The Office), and James Franco's little brother, Dave, all of which are recognizable but no too big of a star to steal the thunder from the leads. There is also a pretty interesting cameo by Johnny Depp, who starred in the original TV series, and even returns to the same role that first put him on the cover of Tiger Beat magazine. Along with the great cast, 21 Jump Street has a solid script. The movie was actually a "passion" project for Jonah Hill and he not only produced it, but also wrote the story. It's in this enthusiasm you can tell that the script was written with a smart approach, and is what elevates the movie to the well above-average comedy. It's also nice to see Hill slimmed down for a role. It's a fresh look at the actor and helps make him a more believable lead. 

See? There is hope for everyone... if you have millions of dollars. 

As you can assume, I would definitely recommend 21 Jump Street. It's fun, hilarious, over-the-top just enough, and stars two guys who clearly have fun work together. Whenever you can watch actors enjoying themselves, as opposed to acting for a paycheck, it's much more entertaining. It should also be pointed out that the jokes are not all the same, given out over and over. There is a good blend of physical and verbal humor as well as a bunch of laughs from a bit of the unpredictable. I liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would and honestly do want to see more of the characters. 

The Good:
a good script that's not stupid, nor insults the intelligence of the audience like most recent comedies do
The Better:
Channing Tatum in a comedic role- a place he's much more comfortable in than the crappy sappy shit he makes
The Best:
Tatum and Jonah Hill's chemistry that is solid as hell by the film's end, leaving you wanting more of their "adventures"

Overall: 8.0/10

Trailer:

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5 Comments:

At June 28, 2012 at 11:00 AM , OpenID todayiwatchedamovie said...

Had to do it while I was at work, but I finally subscribed to your site, friend!

I was genuinely surprised when Johnny Depp and...the other guy...showed up. By that point, I had figured they weren't going to be in it.

 
At June 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I knew that they had cameos so I was looking out for them but was still very surprised at what happened.

 
At June 29, 2012 at 10:15 AM , Blogger Lindsay said...

I agree with you here 100%! You basically mirrored all the feelings I had with the film and I loved your little assessment of the environmentally aware high schoolers.

I'll be pulling for a sequel with this one. Great review!

 
At June 29, 2012 at 10:19 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Thank you! The movie was certainly a lot smarter than you'd think it would be and that little surprise made it even better.

21 Jump Street 2 sounds weird.. but I do want a sequel lol

 
At June 30, 2012 at 8:57 AM , Blogger sharshar said...

I haven’t seen this movie yet, I ordered it on Blockbuster @Home so it should be arriving soon in Blu-ray. A lot of my co-workers at Dish told me this movie is funny and that Johnny Depp has a cameo in it so I am really excited to see Johnny and Channing. I can't wait to watch it.

 

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