Release Date
March 16, 2012
Directors
Phil Lord
Chris Miller
Screenplay
Michael Bacall
Jonah Hill
Distributed By
Columbia Pictures
Budget
$55 million
Action, Comedy
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence
109 minutes

21 Jump Street
09fourhalf-stars

21 Jump Street is absolutely hilarious, with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum making a perfect comedic duo. Both actors prove themselves, with Hill taking a step towards comedic maturity and becoming the staple of the film with perfectly timed retorts and off-the-wall wit that graces every scene, all the while Channing Tatum proves that he’s not just a pretty face and matches Hill on every level, bringing something out of both actors that makes the perfect comedy.

Ladies beware, 21 Jump Street seems to be a dude comedy. With plenty of sick humor and male bonding to boot, the ladies of the audience will probably not get as excited as their male counterparts. However, with the handsome Channing Tatum factor, as well as a strong attempt at a love story between Doug (Jonah Hill) and Molly (Brie Larson), there is some appealing to the farer sex. However, the blew-em-up chase sequences and blatant “dick” humor will probably make the shier girl crowd cringe and wander off.

But praise aside, I should probably tell you about the story. Schmidt and Jenko were high school opposites (not rivals, just opposites). Jenko was the jock, Schmidt was the awkward geek, but when they meet in the police academy years later they become best friends (and practically brothers). When police life fails to live up to what they dreamed it to be and their first bust turns south due to Jenko not knowing the Miranda Rights, the buddy cops are sent to an undercover unit headed by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). Their mission is simple: enroll in high school and find the suppler of a new synthetic drug making its way through the school system. But even that seems too much for the duo to handle, as they immediately land in the principals office after Jenko punches a black, gay kid in the parking lot for “stepping at him”. Not only that, but Jenko messes up their identities and they become enrolled in each others classes, making Jenko the math-lete, “Brad”, and Schmidt, the track star, “Doug”. Only hilariousness could follow such events.

The film’s highest points come from the constant need to be self-aware. Whether it’s Captain Hardy (Nick Offerman) messing up the name of the film or pointing out that the “higher-ups” are “recycling old ideas” (referencing the remake nature of the film), or the surprise twist towards the end of the film with huge allusions to the original 21 Jump Street television series. Not mention the awareness that these men are too old to pass as high schoolers and are constantly being asked how old they are. (“You look like a forty year old man”). All of these elements help make the film more hilarious while treating the audience with respect and not dumbing anything down to make us believe something that is so far-fetched.

The drug scenes are absolutely hilarious, creating comedy gold in the form of Hill and Tatum “tripping” on the same synthetic drugs that they are trying to stop. The moment where Tatum bursts through the band room doors and trips over a bell set, then eventually catapulting through a gong brings me to tears every time. Hill dancing on the track, being commended by Riggle is also comedy gold, eventually leading to the “baton penis” that, again, probably makes the female crowd shake their un-approving heads.

The supporting cast truly helps to sell this film as well. Rob Riggle as Coach Walters plays wonderfully off the two leading roles, with his affinity for Brad/Jenko and his loathing hate for Doug/Schmidt. Ellie Kemper becomes the sexy science teacher, Ms. Griggs, constantly eyeing Brad and making not-so-subtle advances. Even Dave Franco as Eric, the head popular kid, helps breathe some much needed personality into an other “cookie-cutter” version of what the cinema feels is the typical “cool kid”.

Ice Cube lands his greatest role yet, as the angry black captain. He is able to fully embody this role, never for a second looking or acting out of character. Handled by anyone other actor, this role could have easily felt like a caricature, but with Ice Cube at the helm, he dominates with every slap on the desk and booming yell. Without Ice Cube, 21 Jump Street would not be the perfect comedy that it is.

21 Jump Street succeeds on almost every level. Every scene and scenario is filled with one-liners and perfectly hilarious moments (too many to list in this one review). Each viewing brings more and more moments to light. From beginning to end, 21 Jump Street is the funniest comedy I have seen since Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (which screenplay writer Michael Bacall co-wrote with Edgar Wright, the director of the graphic novel adaptation) and will probably create a similar cult following. It will be hard for another comedy to beat 21 Jump Street this year and I anticipate 21 Jump Street becoming one of my favorite films of the year.

P.S. No review would be complete without mentioning the hilarious moment of Korean Jesus. I have no idea where they came up with this, but it proves one of the funniest, off-the-wall moments of the film.

 

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