Review: 21 Jump Street

The undercover police remake becomes an immature comedy-action film.

Ready to leave high school and all it entailed behind them, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) join the police force and are assigned as partners, and in turn placed on an undercover mission at Jump Street, where they must infiltrate a high school and find out who is supplying a vicious drug ring.

This film is the first however, that acknowledges the change in attitudes at school. The stereotypes were engraved, jocks are hot, nerds are not, but now the cool circle are supporting Greenpeace and playing musical instruments. This shocks Jenko the most, who was always popular but finds himself making friends with those who he wouldn’t have associated.

The first scene back at the school is a great nod to this. They both start grouping the students up, but eventually cannot put their finger on some of them. Jenko eventually knocks one out because he sounds gay, with the playground in shock at his actions who shortly thereafter is revealed to actually be gay. In a brilliant move, stereotypes are out the window here.

What continually struck me was how odd such a lead pairing was. Tatum, who I’ve only previously seen in Dear John and the like, demonstrated a remarkable flair for comedic scenes, perhaps because of his pairing with Hill, who co-wrote the remake. Inevitably, it should lead to many more chances to expose a side that has rarely been seen on screen thus far.

Not much else can be said about the supporting cast however. While playing their roles well, they weren’t at all memorable, besides Rob Diggle as a likeable track and field coach and Ice Cube as the captain in charge of the undercover operation, and never satisfied with the pair’s efforts.

With a fresh spin on high school comedy, albeit not revolutionary on the genre, it does add something new to films that have had permanently near obvious stereotypes written in them for years. Full of laughs and a fairly decent plot line to move things on along, 21 Jump Street is a well needed reawakening for the industry that plays on what has stayed the same for three decades or so.

Certificate: 15
Run Time: 109 mins
Directed by: Phil Lord
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill

 

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