Sunday, August 12, 2012

Movie Review - 21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street (2012)
Starring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, and Ice Cube
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller

2012 seems to be the year of Channing Tatum, but 21 Jump Street is only the fourth time I've ever seen him act.  I'm not quite sold on the guy, finding him to have an onscreen presence that's rather arrogant and cocky, and the flick didn't really change my mind on the newfound star.  Still, this comedic reinvention of a dramatic 80s tv show (that I never watched once) has enough laugh-out-loud moments to make this worth checking out.

In 2005, Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) are both in their senior year of high school, but they are definitely on two different sides of the tracks when it comes to popularity.  Jenko is the popular school jock, while Schmidt can't find a date to prom.  Their lives barely intertwine and when they do, it's only for Jenko to throw a slightly demeaning joke Schmidt's way.  Cut to six years later and both young twentysomethings find themselves in the same class of recruits at Metropolitan City's police academy.  With Jenko failing miserably at the written exams and Schmidt bombing the more physical tests, the two team up to help one another and become good buddies.

Unfortunately, Jenko and Schmidt aren't given much respect and are relegated to patrolling on bikes through a typically serene park.  When they perform a drug bust that goes a bit awry, the young duo is sent on an undercover mission headquartered at 21 Jump Street in which Jenko and Schmidt will act as high schoolers in order to try and find the source of a new drug that is making the rounds amongst the teens in the area.

Though we get the standard comedic go-to's like mistaken identities, drug-induced hallucinations, and a bit of gross-out humor, 21 Jump Street is really a buddy comedy that works thanks to Hill and Tatum's chemistry with one another.  While I may not care much for either actor overall, together they are surprisingly appealing to watch.  Sure, I never got any sense that they were anything other than "Jonah Hill" or "Channing Tatum," but they both bring a nice sense of comic timing (a first for Tatum to display) to the affair.

What's perhaps most impressive and also quite promising is that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller's only other feature film is the charming and hilarious Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  For 21 Jump Street to be their first foray into live action is moderately astounding.  Yes, the movie isn't perfect -- a few of the scenes with the high schoolers fall a bit flat, some of the supporting cast like Rob Riggle as a gym teacher are a bit too over-the-top, and the whole thing runs about ten minutes too long -- but it's a darn good first try at live action.

The RyMickey Rating:  B


  1. May I suggest "She's the Man" for a display of Mr. Tatum's comedic timing?

    And, of course, for the even-better timing of Amanda Bynes.

    AND--it's in the same vein as 10 Things I Hate About You-ish in that it is Twelfth Night redone (with characters/names/etc., pretty much intact).

  2. I'm pretty sure I've seen She's the Man (although maybe not in its entirety), so I guess that means I've seen more Channing Tatum movies than I thought.

    And Amanda Bynes just saddens me now...Poor girl and her drunken driving record...I can never look at her the same way again...

  3. I'll never forgive you for shattering that image for me.