21 Jump Street
- Director:Phil Lord , Christopher Miller
- Cast:Jonah Hill, Brie Larson, Channing Tatum
- Release Date:March 15, 2012
- Running time:109 minutes
- Film Worth:$11.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Its two leads possess amusing chemistry but this smug and ultimately disappointing revamp never manages to strike the right note between action and comedy.
In this big screen revamp of the hit eighties TV series, 21 Jump Street - in which Johnny Depp became a teen dream, and adolescent issues were explored with admirable earnestness - Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are mismatched buddy cop partners, Schmidt and Jenko, the former all brains and physical haplessness, and the latter a lumbering himbo good with guns and his fists. Together, they should make the perfect policing duo, but they're basically just a pair of idiots. This, combined with their youthful appearance, gets them assigned to 21 Jump Street, a resurrected crime fighting programme that sees cops going undercover in high schools to bust drug dealers and other criminals. "It's an old programme from the eighties," their commanding officer tells the boys. "The guys upstairs have no imagination anymore, so they just recycle old shit and try and pass it off as something new." Has a TV remake ever worn its cynicism so boldly and unashamedly? Probably not, but does this amusing self-awareness get 21 Jump Street an instant pass? Well, no.
Directed with lots of noise and supposed flair by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (making their live action debut after delivering the popular animated flick, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs), 21 Jump Street never quite hits the right note between action and comedy. The script by young actor/writer, Michael Bacall (Project X, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), is weighted down with a record breaking number of dick jokes (Sigmund Freud would have a field day analysing it), and while there are plenty of big, dirty jokes, the screenplay never hits the heights of genius exercises in puerility like The Hangover, Superbad or Bridesmaids. 21 Jump Street is funny, but when compared to the competition, it's just not funny enough.
The drug dealing plot is threadbare at best, and while Hill and Tatum have an amusing chemistry, the former's lacklustre romantic interest, Brie Larsen (United States Of Tara), looks like she should have graduated high school about five years ago. There are a few funny beats about the more caring, thoughtful and eco-friendly teens of today, but these are never really played right through. Meanwhile, for fans of the original TV show, there are a handful of cameos that have a surprisingly large bearing on the film's messy shootout climax; though at first amusing, they're ultimately disrespectful and kind of depressing, which doesn't help with the film's already teetering sense of good will. The filmmakers, however, obviously take this for granted, with an optimistic sequel-bait ending another example of the over-long, largely disappointing 21 Jump Street's smug cynicism. Thankfully, it's up to the audience to decide whether or not Hill and Tatum's not-so-loveable knuckleheads graduate from high school...or get expelled. We're backing the latter.