21 Jump Street (2012)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Non-stop hilarity here.

When I heard they were making a 22 Jump Street, I don’t know if it made a lot of sense, but I was on board. The title alone follows suit with what the movie franchise is all about, which is self-aware random humor that just pokes fun at obvious things. But before I go to see that tomorrow, I wanted to first go back and watch what made it possible, 21 Jump Street. Most of you are aware of the fact that this film is based off of an old TV show by the same name, and you are probably also aware that there are some differences. We’ll get to that, but first let’s talk about the plot.

What we have here are two unlikely cops, Schmidt and Jenko. These two actually went to high school together years ago. One was the dumb jock while the other was the smart loser. Years later, they are best buds and partners on the police force…but they still aren’t the best cops. In turn, they are sent into an undercover force located at 21 Jump Street, which sends them to their case, a drug ring at a local high school. It is there that they must blend in, but returning to their old lives doesn’t prove to be as simple as 1,2,3.

Yes, this was based on an old TV show starring Johnny Depp, but fans of the show probably won’t be pleased with this film version. The actual TV show was a completely separate genre, so by changing the tone, you change everything. I can’t say firsthand what the show’s fans think about it because I never watched it. What I can say, however, is that the movie is fantastic. Who cares that they changed it into a comedy that makes fun of practically every cliché ever? It’s funny. One more time: It’s creative freedom at its best. I say screw the show, this is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, and probably the funniest of 2012.

The comedy itself relies heavily on random, phyiscal, and self-aware humor. Emphasis on the random. It’s one of the best buddy-cop films I’ve ever seen, it’s got some of the best and smartly-written comedic scenes I’ve ever seen, and it has a lot more heart than you would expect. There is an element of predictability as far as soul goes, as one former bully changes for the better, and definitely with the friendship all around. But it also has a lot of satisfying moments as well as far as reliving the best and worst times of high school, as well as experiencing missed opportunities that you normally never get to.

Of course what shouldn’t be left unsaid is the unbelievable chemsitry between Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. For a comedy, both of these stars had to sport a level of acting range that you wouldn’t expect. One’s a jock and ones a nerd at heart yes, but they swap lives in a way when they go undercover – and through their learning experience, we see a lot of really great acting that your normally don’t see in comedy.

Here’s what I don’t understand. As much as I want to see a sequel to this amazing comedy, I’m not really sure how it would work. Part of the humor that works in this movie is the same type of thing that we’ve seen in Dumb & Dumber. Two adults acting like kids and how hilarious it is to see the interactions they have. The sequel, like any other sequels, hopes to raise the bar by changing high school to college. No offense, but they are going to fit in more with college kids and the idea alone won’t be as funny. Obviously they couldn’t send these guys to elementary school, but I’m not sure how this will work. I have a few ideas, but I’ll keep those to myself.

The Good:

21 Jump Street is, in my humble opinion, one of the funniest movies ever made and funniest film of 2012. It has a really fresh mixture of comedic stylings, as well as writing, and the heart and soul of the characters are captured really well by Hill and Tatum.

The Bad:

Not everyone has seen it. Just kidding – if you’re a fan of the TV show, you’ll probably have expectations going into this, and you may or may not be disappointed based solely on those expectations.

The Random:

Channing Tatum passed on the movie twice before he was convinced by Jonah Hill to take the role.


5 thoughts on “21 Jump Street (2012)

  1. This was such a funny film! I agree that the acting was great, which is rare in comedies, and Tatum and Hill’s chemistry was probably the thing that made the film so good! Great review, Dave!


  2. It was pretty awesome 🙂 I don’t think I want to see 22 Jump Street, just in case it isn’t as good, so I only know the better.


  3. Yeah, this movie’s pretty damn funny, but what makes it even better is how well Tatum and Hill work together. Sort of strange really, but they really do go hand-in-hand. Good review Dave.


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