21 Jump Street is one of the funniest films I have seen for a long time. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is one of the strangest comedy double acts I’ve encountered since Hill appeared with Russell Brand in Get Him to the Greek. Again, Hill is on top form and ensures that – strangely – it works.
Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) went to the same high school, but their paths never crosses. Schmidt was an unpopular dork, whereas Jenko was the high-school heartthrob and always surrounded by the cool kids. After graduation, both of them joined the police force and became partners as wardens for the local park. But an undercover mission now requires their assistance. As they both look young, they are to go incognito as high school students to infiltrate a drug ring that is supplying and dealing within the school.
Tatum apparently declined the role twice and needed to be persuaded by Hill. And it’s a good job he was convinced; he seems at ease in a comedy role. Whereas his recent performance in The Vow was virtually emotionless and unconvincing, his role as a clumsy undercover cop works because he is glorious at playing dumb. Hill – having lost over 40 pounds to act the stunt scenes – still pulls off the jovial, fat man look with style and charm.
Johnny Depp (star of the original TV series) makes a brief cameo, and the rapper Ice Cube is relatively funny as the duo’s cop boss. Some of the comedy was crude and frankly unfunny. But it’s a sweet story with an unlikely bromance and sharp wit.
I can’t put it any more succinctly than the review that USA Today gave: “The dialogue is fast-paced and full of pop-culture references. It all makes for an entertaining blend of buddy-cop action and irreverent teen-comedy satire.”
Best high school comedy since Superbad (another Jonah Hill movie). There’s a theme beginning here…