On paper, this movie doesn’t look like it should work on any level. It’s bizarre blend of buddy-cop comedy and high school misfortune comprises the majority of this story. Revived from an 80’s TV show that never quite made its way across the pond and gave a mainstream US audience Johnny Depp, this could easily have been another A-Team type semi-failure. However, regardless of the fact that very few cinema-goers in the UK would have seen the original 21 Jump Street, this movie will without a doubt, appeal to a broad range of viewers.
21 Jump Street see’s two useless and youthful looking new police recruits Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) transferred to a police unit that specialises in undercover investigations within high schools.
The captain of this unit, Captain Dickson, played expletively by Ice Cube, is superb and is blessed with just the right amount of screen time for his ‘black, angry police captain’ stereotype to work its wonder. Never has foul language sounded so ridiculously funny. Ice Cube certainly sets the tone for the events that ensue.
It must be said, that 21 Jump Street is absurd. The premise of the film (and the 80’s TV show) does not sound the most appealling and the narrative is quite frankly, nuts. However, for all its preconceived flaws, Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall deliver a masterpiece in comedy, romance, action, friendship and just general lunacy. This is the next step on from Superbad with Schmidt and Jenko reminiscent of younger Officers Slater and Michaels.
The balance of comedy, action and emotional baggage is spot on, with Channing Tatum’s Jenko coming across as an extremely likable idiot that provides real heroism despite his early impression. Hill’s Schmidt plays the high school loser who enjoys his second shot at being a senior a little too much. As frustrating as this element of the story can be, it provides an excellent scene with some rather amusing apparel.
The movie is left wide open for a sequel, which, so long as all original players are involved, could be a hoot. Because the only downside about 21 Jump Street, is that it departs while leaving its audience desperate for more insanity, more ludicrous incidents, more foolish buddy cop comradery than you can shake a night stick at. Kudos to all involved for one of the most refreshing comedies in years.