21 Jump Street
Running Time: 109 minutes
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Brie Larson, Rob Riggle
Directed By: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Two underachieving cops go undercover at a local high school to bust a drug ring.
I have a short list of comedies that I will watch at least once a year and this will easily be added to that list. I had a lot of misgivings about this film going in. First off, I never saw the Johnny Depp show of the same name it was based on, and secondly Channing Tatum in a comedy also made me uneasy. It took all of 15 seconds for my worries to go away and realize this film was going to be awesome. 21 Jump Street is the story of Schmidt and Jenko. They are unimpressive cops who get sent to a local high school to bring down a drug ring. Working undercover the two of them must bring down these dealers before this potentially fatal drug spreads.
At a cursory glance this is just another buddy cop movie and when you dig deeper it really is just another buddy cop movie. The difference between 21 Jump Street and films like Cop Out, The Other Guys, and Starsky and Hutch is this movie was funny the entire time. From the opening scene where we see Schmidt and Jenko as actual teens in high school, to the end of the film where the last bullet has been fired, this film is laugh out loud funny. There are no lulls or boring scenes, there is no downtime, and most importantly the film is always entertaining. Having forced to go undercover at a high school to save their jobs, the two buddies quickly learn that it isn’t like what they remembered when they were students. There are new cliques they don’t know about, the cool kids care about the environment, people who play sports are mocked, and even people wear their backpacks strangely. Trying to fit into this new crazy teenage world is where a lot of the jokes stem from. Jenko and Schmidt do everything in their power to fit in and discover who these drug dealers are. They throw an underage party with alcohol and drugs, enter the school play, take science tests, and they have car chases in a driving instructors car all of which you won’t want to miss.
Schmidt played by Jonah Hill and Jenko played by Channing Tatum are awesome together. Hill plays the out of shape and brainy cop while Tatum plays the brawny and less intelligent one. The two of them play off each other like they have been friends forever. Having the two of them as twenty something’s in high school is pure jokes as their roles are not what you expect. Hill turns out being the cool guy and Tatum gets a taste of being the nerd and they both do great jobs. I expect nothing but greatness from Hill but Tatum was truly funny. His comedic range really showed especially where he goes on a crazy drug trip. Under the influence he talks about science and plays musical instruments which really shows he has a great comedic timing. A special note must be mentioned to Ice Cube playing their angry captain on Jump Street. Cube was a fantastic surprise with his yelling and cussing throughout this film. By the end of this film you will want to update your Facebook status to “infiltrate the dealers!….find the supplier!”
So this film has a liberal amount of swearing and drug use but it never gets out of control. While finding the drug dealers is the story, watching these two less than perfect cops go undercover is the hook. They fight and they bicker but seem like genuine best friends. Even when a pretty cool gun fight scene breaks out and people are being shot, the film is still able to capture laughs. Everyone in this film works. The teachers are funny, the students are funny, the drug dealers are funny, the cameos are funny, and anytime Jonah Hill throws an old lady to the ground by her face means you need to watch this. Is this the funniest movie of the year? I easily think it is.
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have really hit comedic gold with this film. They have casted fantastically right across the board and really keep the flow of this movie light and easy going. Buddy cop movies are hard to do. The chemistry needs to be just right or it is left floundering. Not only are the lead characters relatable, they seem to be having fun and that helps out any comedy. This is a rare film that when it ended I was left wanting more. I give just a big applause to anyone involved with this movie.
I give this movie a big recommendation as it is a hilarious time of seeing immature cops retaking high school. I can’t wait for the next one.
T Factor + If you like buddy cop movies this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Jonah Hill as a comedian than this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Beverly Hills Cop, The Other Guys.