Comedy has evolved over many decades of movie-making. What was seen as crude humor during the 80s as National Lampoon has modernized, and has become much more apparent as potty humor. In my opinion, it started with “Superbad”, which starred Jonah Hill, one of the stars of this new film, 21 Jump Street, a takeoff of a popular late 80s crime drama show starring Johnny Depp. Obviously the new film is vastly different from its television counterpart, though they follow a very similar timeline. Without further adew, its on to the review.
21 Jump Street stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko, two former classmates of two very different social classes who reunite upon entering the police academy seven years after high school. They end up becoming friends and partners throughout the program as they are assigned to park duty after completing police academy. From there, the two fail to stop a group of drug dealers, and the characters are reassigned to join a recently uncovered speciality division down on Jump Street. That’s right, 21 Jump Street.
From there, the two are given the opportunity to make a fresh start, as they are thrown into an undercover operation at their old high school, to stop a new synthetic drug known as N.S.P. from spreading throughout the school by finding the supplier, after a student overdosed and died.
The director(s) are Phil Lord and Chris Miller, well known from their work on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as well as the shortlived MTV animated show, Clone High. Now the film was produced by Stephen J. Carnell, co-creator of the original 21 Jump Street television show, so I feel that with him behind the wheel, this movie was definitely kept on track from straying TOO far from its original concept.
Now it’s time to voice my opinions on the film. You ready?
Well I have to say, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this movie. From start to finish, even the theatre was in an uproar of laughter at the hilarity of this movie. At first, I was a little worried during the initial trailer of the movie, because I had heard about the original television show, and long-time fans of the series would probably not have liked to have seen this film generally because they are so unalike. As someone whose never watched the original show, I was still impressed by how well they referenced the show time-and-time again, including special cameos by three of the main characters throughout the movie. I won’t mention when and where.
Newcomers will definitely find something of enjoyment out of this movie, and find some of the characters slightly relatable. Jonah Hill brought to the table what he does best: witty humor, silly antics, and of course being the loser character of the movie. As for Channing Tatum, well known for many romantic drama films, his good looks and fit image made any girls in the movie and in the theatre drool with desire. Of course, Tatum represents the big, dumb jock characters that we’ve all grown to hate over the years, but this movie goes to show how opposites attract, even in the most intense circumstances.
But of course, no good film could go uncriticized, and sadly I do have a few criticisms I feel I must share before the end of this review. I’m still a little surprised that our taste in the style of comedy has dumbed down so much over the years, and of course I feel Superbad set the standard for that with which sex, dicks, gunplay/violence, and so forth makes for a hilarious laugh-out-loud comedy. It’s become a little redundant, in my opinion, which is why this movie is not as “fresh” as everyone makes it out to think it is. Also I feel that the stereotypes of the social classes portrayed in this movie are highly unrealistic, and let me explain:
The movie begins in 2005, senior year for both Hill and Tatum’s characters. Hill’s character is a shy, dorky geek with braces and random blond hair, while Tatum is the jock with the letterman’s jacket and long, straight hair who gets all the girls. This stereotype has grown to become nonexistent, but what’s worse is that when they fast-forward seven years later to 2012, you lose those stereotypes completely. So now, there are still nerds, but there are no jocks, and what’s portrayed as popular is apparently a mix between environmentalism and hipsterism. I know it seems a little extreme, but there’s absolutely no way that more than decades worth of stereotypes can eventually be flushed out in a matter of seven years. It’s a little farfetched, but that was one of my major complaints for this movie, so you know I don’t completely hate the rest of it.
But above all, I really enjoyed everything else about this movie. Its not a movie I want to watch again right away, mind you, but its definitely a movie that deserves a a standing ovation not only for being a big hit in the box office, but for taking a major chance by going from crime-drama in the 80s, to action-comedy-parody in the year 2012, and still sticking to its roots by returning to old Jump Street and including old character cameos. Definitely a smart move, and if you’re looking for more from these characters, a sequel to the film is already in talks. So let’s just hope that the sequel doesn’t make the same mistakes that most bad sequels to good movies have done in the past.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10