Movie Review: 21 Jump Street
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as an unconventional, goofball cop duo in the new action-comedy “21 Jump Street.” Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have taken the 1980’s crime drama of the same name, and employed the comedic talents of hot, young Hollywood. The end result is nothing short of utter hilarity. Hill plays Schmidt, a loser in high school whose life hasn’t really changed since graduating. Hill's costar, Tatum, plays Jenko, a popular jock who is the epitome of dumb and hasn’t quite figured out that high school is over.
Both men find themselves joining the police force and are forced to put their differences aside to get through their training. After a very embarrassing mishap, the now-best-buds are transferred to a special undercover division that takes advantage of their youthful looks in order to infiltrate the halls of a modern-day high school.
Though the plot sounds silly, the movie is very well written. It is full of unbelievable humor, wit, and is unexpectedly smart—as smart as an action-comedy can get.
Usually a movie like this must sacrifice brains in order to keep the comedy-fire lit, but “21 Jump Street” sacrifices nothing. Writers Michael Bacall (“Scott Pilgirm vs. the World”) and Jonah Hill make sure intelligence is not thrown out.
Aside from being well written, the film is definitely character driven and gives the talented cast a chance to showcase their comedic chops.
Jonah Hill proves that no matter what the weight scale says, he is just as funny as ever. The Oscar-nominated actor has shed a few pounds, but ultimately hasn’t lost the ability to make us laugh. In losing weight, he seems to have embraced the thought of adding several layers to his characters;, a nice modification to the classic “funny fat-guy” routine.
Ladies, you can add “humor” to your “Reasons Why Channing Tatum is Perfect” list (if you have one). Not only is he attractive, he seems pretty humble.. Playing the airhead of the pair, Tatum embraces the role to the bitter end and serves the films’ heartiest laughs and most sincere moments.
Ice Cube, Ellie Kemper, and a slew of other actors and actresses round out the movie’s comedy ensemble. Ice Cube delivers an extremely amusing performance as Captain Dickson, the stereotypical angry police captain. Ellie Kemper, coming off her humorous role in “Bridesmaids,” executes an amusing take on a straight-laced chemistry teacher, gone “Mary Kay Letourneau” for Tatum’s character; Jenko.
There are moments in which the film takes itself too seriously, using car chases and standoffs to make it seem more like an action movie. This does not work out as well as the writers or the director may have hoped, but luckily the cast picks up the slack.
“21 Jump Street” is a flawed, cliché ridden film, but that is the last thing you think about as you laugh your head off throughout the movie. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum share a special, unique chemistry, one that beckons laughter with every take, and makes this movie the funniest film of the year thus far.