Tuesday, March 20, 2012

21 Jump Street - Movie Review

At first glance, "21 Jump Street" looks like the result of a movie studio attempting to cash in on yet another property from the 80's, but the end result goes far beyond that assumption with a really fun story that stays current while finding unique ways to both pay homage to and ridicule a decade that a lot of people really don't want to relive.

Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) went to the same high school, but lived in completely different worlds. One was a very smart kid with no social skills and the other was a star athlete and prom king that lacked any motivation to excel in the classroom.

After high school, both young men enter the police academy and quickly realize they will need to work together if they are going to succeed. After sharing their skills and surviving both the physical and classroom training, the unlikely duo successfully graduates, but quickly botch their first arrest after being sent out as officers of the law.

Reassigned to an undercover team that infiltrates criminal activity in high schools, Schmidt and Jenko are tasked with rooting out the main supplier of a new type of drug at one high school before it becomes a more widespread problem. Using their skills, or in their case lack of skills, the pair begin a mission that will change their lives in ways they never thought possible.

I was also fairly impressed with both Hill and Tatum in comedic roles that play against their own stereotypes and they do well playing off each other and poking fun at just about anything they can get their hands on. Other familiar faces like Chris Parnell and Rob Riggle nicely fill out some of the other comedic roles although I really didn't care for Ice Cube's intentionally ironic "angry black man" character.

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have put together a really fun movie that is equal parts coming of age tale, buddy cop action movie, and high school comedy and they manage to balance it all fairly nicely without ever going too far over the top. Although the story is pretty straight forward and fairly predictable, "21 Jump Street" still manages to keep you entertained from start to finish.

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