21 Jump Street. Now, I don’t know anything about the Johnny Depp series of the same name from the 80s. But from my understanding, it’s a similar premise.
So, how does this random March release stack up? Luckily, it really impressed me.
The gist? Channing Tatum and 2/3 of Jonah Hill star as two cops that are looking for more action in their jobs. After some antics, they get reassigned to an undercover job trying to find a drug supplier in a local high school.
Tatum and Hill have a natural chemistry here that really lights up the screen. Tatum makes Hill look like a badass, while Hill makes Tatum look like a comedic genius. It really works. I remember watching the movie The Dilemma and thinking “Wow, Channing Tatum is just not meant for comedy.” But after this, I could see it. There is a sequence where Hill and Tatum both have to take this mystery drug they’re looking for, to prove they’re not cops. Usually drug sequences seem forced but I couldn’t stop laughing.
While the core plotline is predictable, the writers did the smart thing by being incredibly self-referential and acknowledging the staples of the comedic action genre. When the Captain is explaining the undercover project, he even says that the department has “lost all original ideas, so they’re rehashing ideas that worked in the 80s.” Just a little nod to the fact that remakes, reboots, and reimaginings dominate the theaters.
There was also a surprising amount of action and it was pulled off pretty well. Some freeway chases had me on the edge of my seat and the climax of the movie had my jaw dropped (partly due to some crazy cameos).
What didn’t work?
You know, off-hand I can’t think of much that I didn’t enjoy. The pacing was good enough that I never went too long without laughing and I was fairly interested in what was happening. I also never checked the time, which gives the movie bonus points.
It’s a solid choice. There’s not a lot of competition in the comedy realm right now so it should definitely be at the top of your list if you’re heading to the theaters and looking for something funny. I laughed much more than I expected, so it exceeded my expectations. Who knows if it’ll stand the test of time though. I doubt in a few years, anyone will mention this movie. But for now, it’s top dog.