The popular 80’s show 21 Jump Street starring Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise finally got a movie remake with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as their replacements. The new 21 Jump Street is a comedic take on the crime drama that aired on Fox for five seasons.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW
The movie’s plot revolves around Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) who attended the same high school, one being the nerd and the other being the popular kid. Both guys find themselves joining the police force with their own strengths and weaknesses – a classic case of Brains and Brawns. As partners, both Schmidt and Jenko are assigned to park patrol until they are assigned to another division because of their young looks. Their new assignment require them to pose as undercover students at a high school that is involved in drug trading. In order to find the culprits, Schmidt and Jenko have to play their roles as regular students, although they find their roles being reversed this time around.
The movie does exactly what it’s supposed to do: make you laugh your ass off. Think Superbad or The Hangover humor. If you’re looking for the crime thriller drama with crazy twists and turns, then you will be very disappointed with this remake. In fact, the cop/crime aspect of the plot seemed very typical and predictable, but I don’t think the creators of the movie made that their goal. Their aim was to make a comedy that appealed to young audiences, thus the slapstick and immature humor. It is, however, not necessarily a bad thing since comedies today have shifted into that direction yet still remain funny. Had they stayed with the original feel of 21 Jump Street, it would have turned into a horrendous flick. We can all thank American Pie for that.
One of the things that I really liked about this movie was how it was aware of the cultural makeup of high schools today. The movie does a good job of contrasting high school life in 2005 and 2012 by first showing Hill and Tatum’s characters in their high school days and later having them infiltrate a high school that looked totally different. The “cool” kids in 2012 were shown as tree-huggers who were also accepting of gays, far from the homophobic bully jock character that was present in films and TV shows from the 80s until early 2000s. Of course, the movie could not completely shy away from the typical teenage movie, hence the presence of nerds, parties, prom, and sex.
I also think that both Hill and Tatum did a wonderful job of playing their characters. Both actors seemed to have great chemistry on the screen, similar to Hill and Michael Cera’s combo in Superbad except this movie kept reminding the viewers how physically blessed Tatum is. Ice Cube also did a good job of playing as their captain, who had Samuel L. Jackson-like qualities with the bad temper and the profanities. Cast members from the original show, Holly Robinson, Peter DeLuise, and most importantly Johnny Depp, surprised everyone with their brief cameo appearances which to me was a great tribute to those actors and the show.
There were a few scenes that I thought tried a little too hard to make the audience laugh, mostly scenes with the P.E. teacher Mr. Walters. But overall, the movie used funny and original humor to tickle its audience and you can tell which parts of the movie was written by the comedic genius of Jonah Hill. As with most comedies, the movie will have you laughing harder when you see it in theaters. 21 Jump Street may be the funniest comedy of the year.