Protagonists Schmidt and Jenko, played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, respectively, were high-school opposites. Schmidt was the brainy, not-popular weird guy, while Tatum was the good-looking jock who isnt so smart.
For whatever reason, both enter the police academy and find out they complement each others skills quite well, becoming friends and helping one another become officers. However, they quickly find themselves on park-duty, riding around on bicycles and yelling at kids who disobey the Dont Feed the Ducks signs.
After an erroneous arrest, the two are placed undercover at 21 Jump Street, the headquarters for the high school-snooping officers, led by a very in-your-face Captain Dickson, played by Ice Cube.
The two infiltrate a local high school as brothers and seek out a synthetic drug ring, finding their old high school roles are now reversed and they not only have to overcome their new social realities, but also find a way to catch the bad guys without alienating one another in the process.
Like most modern comedies, Jump Street is filled with sexual jokes that focus too often on the male anatomy, as well as homophobic jokes that only generate eye rolls. The overwhelming laughs are generated from a script that credits itself by knowing the limits of this premise, acknowledging them and inevitably, poking fun at them.
The great joy of the film are Tatum and Hill together, with this being Tatums first stint as a comedic actor. Previously, Ive found it unbelievably intolerable to watch Tatum act in films ranging from G.I. Joe (2009) to Dear John (2010). But paired with Hill, a comedic veteran, the two create great laughs and Tatums deadpanning is worthy of applause.
Upon reentering high school, comedy flies from their total misconception of what is now cool, the fact that they both look hilariously too old to be in high school, mixing up their undercover identities and then finding their place in opposite roles. Tatum is placed in advanced Chemistry while Hill thrown into a drama class and getting in with the cool kids.
While the two characters inevitable short-lived split is organically achieved, although all movies with the odd couple recipe have made this predictable, the realization that the two need one another and are best buds is a bit heavy-handed, thanks to a cameo from a member of the television shows original cast.
The comedy is spread with typical car chases, which actually poke great fun at action movie car chases, hilarious bike chases, a gratuitous shootout and more. I certainly give a lot of credit to Michael Becall, screenwriter, and Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directors.
Dave Franco, playing Eric, the high-school drug dealer/cool kid and Brie Larson as Molly, the love interest of Hills character, and Rob Riggle as teacher Mr. Walters, serve their purpose in supporting roles.
Overall, I would definitely give a long pause before taking or allowing kids under 18 to catch the film, but thats an individual choice. The movie is surprisingly hilarious and offers a decent character arc for both protagonists for a movie that is constantly making fun of everything, including itself.
21 Jump Street is currently playing at all local theaters and is rated R, (no one under 17 permitted) with a runtime of 109 minutes.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.