21 Jump Street -Movie Review

Based on the popular ’80s TV show 21 Jump Street, two young looking incompetent police officers are sent to the undercover unit to uncover drug dealers in a high school.

RT Rating: Audience 86% Critics 85%

Before progressing with my review, I have to admit I’m biased. I dislike Jonah Hill, I rarely find his brand of humor incredibly funny, and so I became even more wary before watching this movie. But I love Channing Tatum and I wanted to see if this movie really did ruin my love of 21 Jump Street or not.

It took a lot to convince myself to watch this movie. I’m not a child of the 80s, but a few years ago I came across the TV show and I loved it. When I heard that Jonah Hill was creating this movie I was very nervous. In fact, I’ll go so far to say that I hated the idea. I loved the TV show. Yes, there were comedic moments but it was a relatively serious show,  a cop procedural. If Jonah Hill was involved that would make it a full blown comedy and I didn’t like the idea of that.

Initially we are transported back to 2005 when Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) were in high school. Jenko was the jock with ridiculous long hair who teases Schmidt, a dorky boy with equally ridiculous hair. Why do both of these men have such awful hair? I don’t know why this is what I singled out about them… But it was 2005, things weren’t that gross back then. We quickly get introduced to their problems: Jenko is athletic but dumb, while Schmidt is smart but out of shape. What are the odds that seven years later they meet in the police academy where they have the same problems and this time must rely on each other to pass. The amount of effort needed to make their drug bust on bikes seem epic…

When they get to 21 Jump Street and meet their new captain he gives them a big spiel about why they are all there. I can’t help but think how much it isn’t like the original. You’re supposed to like the captain and they’re all supposed to be good friends. Not only that but he swears way too much. It’s not even funny, it’s just vulgar and stupid. Their task is to infiltrate the dealers and suss out the suppliers of a new synthetic drug HSF. They’re set up as brothers and are put into their stereotypical classes. These characters fit their given stereotypes almost perfectly, making them too one dimensional to have more than surface laughs and intrigue.

The awkwardness of the scene where Schmidt and Jenko go to stay at Schmidt’s parents house is so real because I imagine that is exactly how so many people would feel. Later, when they go into the high school and don’t know what’s going on because they’ve been out of the it for seven years is so great. All of the things that used to make Jenko cool now makes him not, and vice versa for Schmidt. I like that they include the role reversal allowing them to discover what it was like for the other person during their actual high school experience. Watching Jenko get involved with the ‘nerds’ and having a great time – although not getting too involved in the case – is so cute. I love that he is able to do this and just have fun.

The end battle at the high school prom was a lot of fun. With a cameo from Johnny Depp (main actor in the original TV series) and some heartfelt moments I definitely came out of the movie on a high note.

One of the redeeming qualities of this movie was Channing Tatum. Not even his character Jenko. I love Tatum so much at the moment that every time he said something I would giggle, and he was so attractive that every time he was on screen I would stare lovingly at his attractive self. Clearly I don’t deserve to be writing reviews, because if that’s the redeeming feature of a movie then it isn’t good.

Although I say that Tatum was the redeeming feature of the movie, I have to say that I got quite a lot of laughs out of it. I tried to forget that this was remaking the TV show but that was almost impossible, so I settled with hating the moving and laughing with it and sometimes at it as I expect you’re supposed to. Because I laughed quite often I guess that this movie lived up to the hype.

I didn’t realize that Dave Franco was in this movie until I got to the first scene at the high school and noticed that a younger James Franco was there. Such a welcome surprise. He was enjoyable throughout the movie, and I hope his career goes well for him.

My Rating:

I don’t really know what to give this… I had such huge problems with the movie but for the most part I found it really enjoyable. So I guess… 7/10

What did you think of the movie?