21 Jump Street, Film Review
I never saw the TV series that launching Johnny Depp career. That does not really matter here; I was expecting another “teen” comedy. Where the jocks are cool and the geeks and nerds are not. 21 Jump Street just might be the smartest high-school movie Hollywood’s produced in a while, because it’s the first to really acknowledge that the rules have changed.
Penned by Michael Bacall, it’s no surprise that this particular “teen” comedy has the intellectual edge over its genre peers; it takes no obvious pleasure in reversing the established power dynamic between jock and nerd.
Jenko (Channing Tatum), and Eminem-a-like Schmidt (Jonah Hill) were polar social opposites at school but later became BFFs at police academy. After buggering up their first arrest, it see them re-assigned to 21 Jump Street, an undercover operation for youthful-looking officers that’s based in a Korean church and headed up by an angry black police captain (Ice Cube) who solemnly tells them to “Embrace your stereotypes!”
Their former CO, Nick Offerman’s police chief explaining that the undercover operation is being revived because the guys in charge just “recycle shit from the past and expect us all not to notice”.
Given their first assignment undercover to find a new drug and stop it from spreading to other schools, they discover that even the stereotypes have changed. They make their way through the student body on their first day. Jenko becomes increasingly bemused as he tries and fails to identify the various cliques and blame it all on Glee.
You can’t blame him; the cool kid is now more often than not the preppy hipster in the skinny jeans and thick-rimmed nerd glasses or, in this instance, the weedy eco warrior. Schmidt gleefully to discovers, comic books, environmental awareness and general tolerance are top of the cool list in this brave new social world.
Jenko and Schmidt both grow though out the film. Jenko finds that he has more in common with the geeks and nerds than he would have cared about when he was in high school.
For fans of the 80’s TV show there are a few references to the show with Johnny Depp making an unaccredited cameo with Peter DeLuise. There are some great jokes though the film and a running joke where Jenko and Schmidt expect explosions to happen (the sort you normally see his most cop TV shows/ movies), and nothing happens.
Nick Offerman’s police chief explaining that the undercover operation is being revived because the guys in charge just “recycle shit from the past and expect us all not to notice”.
Tatum and Hill, seem to have a blast with their roles and have a great chemistry together, which really shows on screen.
21 Jump Street is a fun “teen”/ Police comedy and well worth a watch.
There is potential for a sequel as Jenko and Schmidt are given their next assignment undercover in a collage at the end of the film. However having said that, the 21 Jump Street can stand on it own.
I give this film 4 out of 5.
Jenko: [while passing different cliques] Those are jocks, those are nerds…
Jenko: I don’t know what those are…
Schmidt: What the fuck are those things?