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21 Jump Street (2012) review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 13 June 2014 11:38

" We're reviving a canceled undercover police program from the '80s and revamping it for modern times. You see the guys in charge of this stuff lack creativity and are completely out of ideas, so all they do now is recycle shit from the past and expect us all not to notice."

So basically it came down to which movie i wanted to see more this weekend either "How to Train Your Dragon 2 or 22 Jump Street" having watched the first How to Train Your Dragon last month i decided that i should watch the this movie to see which one i wanted to see more this weekend at the theaters and for sure after this it is 22 Jump Street. 21 Jump Street had me laughing from start to finish which not many comedies can do that nowadays, it may be because i have only seen the movie once before when it first came out on DVD/Blu ray still though i highly enjoyed the movie. Now surprisingly i have never seen the the TV Show this is based off of and even despite it having johnny deep it was just one of those shows i never seem to watch while growing up so i never gave it a chance later on but after watching this i really want to check out the old stuff to see if it was just as great. It seems like a lot of people that had watched the TV Show didn't care to see a modern movie based on it and clearly by the reception it received from people its either they love it or hate it, i can say though right now i highly doubt my rating for this movie will change once i start watching the TV Show.

The movie starts out in 2005 and follows Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) a goofy looking Eminem wannabe and while trying to ask a really hot girl out to prom he is rudely interrupted by Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) a asshole jock who makes fun of him by calling him a nerd and saying that the chick is way out of his league. Schmidt gets embarrass and quickly walks away while Jenko is called into the principles office and is told that he can not attend prom as he has too low of grades. The movie then picks up seven years later, Schmidt is trying to enlist as a police officer and who does he see at registration, Jenko who then happens to recognizes Schmidt and says to him "not so slim shady, Whats up". They soon become friends as they help each other out with what area's they are lacking in Schmidt's being the physical aspect while Jenko's being the mental aspect of being a cop.

After awhile they graduate the police academy and now are official cops but instead of car chases and gun fights they are stuck on park duty riding bicycles with nothing to do but when they see a group of bikers smoking weed they jump into action. From here we see them get put into a undercover program for young immature cops called "21 Jump Street" led by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) which seriously had me laughing so hard every time he spoke. Now we have our movie which has both Schmidt and Jenko back in high school only this time around it seems Schmidt is part of the popular group while Jenko is a nerd. Its the total opposite of what they originally were back then and now their job is to find out who is making this new type of drug that kids are overdosing on.

Seriously though this movie has so many funny moments from start to finish that it over shadows how hollow the overall plot is. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have amazing chemistry together seriously i cant remember the last time i laughed this hard while watching a buddy cop movie even the Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy movie "The Heat" was no match for how great this movie was. Ice Cube was pure comedic gold see this is why he is a much better actor in rated R movies rather than PG-13 movies like he was in "Ride Along". Nick Offerman was great as the chief of police despite us not seeing that much of him also seeing Johnny Depp at the end was so crazy in no way did i realize that was him, it was even crazier when you see him and his partner Peter DeLuise who was also in the TV version of 21 Jump Street die and they have their own little moment during a gun fight which seemed rather funny to me.

Overall i give it a 8.0 Seeing all the reviews, trailers, and tv spots, i have high hopes that the sequel will be just as great as this.

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A good movie

Posted : 5 years, 4 months ago on 21 January 2013 09:26

When I was a kid, I used to watch the TV show and since I was just about 13-14 years old, I didn’t mind the cheesiness and how preposterous the whole thing was and I honestly thought it was pretty good. However, I got older and the idea of making a feature film adaptation sounded quite terrible and when I heard they were making a parody, my expectations were even lower. However, it was a surprise success and I mostly heard good things about this flick and since Nick, my step-son, bought me the DVD for my birthday, I was really eager to check this flick. Eventually, I thought it was pretty good. Indeed, like I said before, the original concept (to infiltrate some cops in a high-school) was actually kind of stupid so the makers actually decided to focus on all those stereotypes and make fun of them and it worked. I have seen other flicks going the same road like ‘The Green Hornet’ which was not bad but still pretty disappointing and ‘Starsky and Hutch’ which was downright awful. Here, they managed to have the right tone and the whole thing was really funny. A couple of neat examples : the cops take some drugs at school with some hilarious effects, the cops throw a house party with drugs, alcohol, again with some hilarious effects and, of course, the awesome cameo by Johnny Depp which was just the cherry on top of the cake. For Channing Tatum, I finally got the feeling that this guy could be the real thing instead of just another dumb pretty face. Of course, some of the jokes didn’t work really well and the whole thing remains pretty dumb but it was supposed to be that way so it is far from being a masterpiece but for a TV show adaptation, it was still pretty damned entertaining. To conclude, if you want to see a buddy cop flick which doesn’t take itself too seriously, you will definitely enjoy this one and I think it is definitely worth a look.

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Definately one of the worse buddy cop movies

Posted : 5 years, 6 months ago on 4 November 2012 02:44

I never really wanted to see this movies, simply because I was a fan of the TV series. After watching it last night now I know why i didnt want to watch this movie. Saying this movies was bad would be an understatement. This movie was aweful. Don't waist your time go buy the series on DVD.

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A hilarious, delightful surprise.

Posted : 5 years, 8 months ago on 6 September 2012 02:15

Initially prior its release, 21 Jump Street had quite a lot of heavy criticism thrown at it. For starters, first glances of theatrical trailers and still images, it had the approach that it would become another colourful Hollywood comedy with a mediocre outcome. Furthermore, it is a feature based on a TV series that was released in the late 1980s which aroused the question of whether the film adaptation will still stick to its original roots or will go somewhere a little different. Finally, the popular but not entirely favourable duo of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star in the leading role. Still, considering the mixed expectations, 21 Jump Street overcame all the odds that were against it and became a delightful surprise package.

Being one who has not witnessed any of the episodes in the original 21 Jump Street TV series, it is hard to identify and then determine what footsteps from that show still remain within the film adaptation. Still, what we have is that it is still your vintage Hollywood comedy but the story as a whole and how it looked on screen had concepts of sit-coms, an insight into the mind-set of young men progressing from adolescence to adulthood and having to let go. Finally, it contained quite a series of effects that are somewhat related to Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Therefore, co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, craft together a film what looks like it is made for television that combines marvellously with comic book and teen comedy concepts and they deserve credit for it, especially after their poor previous film Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.

When seeing Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum individually in other films, you either love or hate them. Casting these two in the shared leading roles were literally two halves of what makes a protagonist in a comedy mostly aimed for teenagers: the clumsy but well-intentioned one (Hill) and the other being handsome eye-candy (Channing Tatum). Still, the duo still provide exactly what they’ve been recognized for over the years but at times, switch in opposite directions. Hill, who had amazingly lost so much weight after his previously obese appearance, became a cool guy as Morton Schmidt/Doug McQuaid and was the more romantic character. Despite this, trails from his past comedies were still within 21 Jump Street as we still got the laughs and catastrophes. Channing Tatum, quite possibly the biggest piece of male eye-candy in Hollywood today transforms the most as he not only rarely took on a role in a comedy but also was the more sensible and geekier character. His performance as Greg Jenko/Brad McQuaid is undoubtedly his best to date and has revolutionized a new side of acting to him.

Further amongst the cast is Ice Cube - another actor who viewers will either praise or despise, whose tables are turned in a role that is quite possibly his best to date. His performance as Captain Dickson is, of course, completely idiotic but we are introduced to a very likeable character that both honoured and mocked the power and authority of the police. In addition, Brie Larson portrayed Schmidt/McQuaid’s “fellow classmate” and love interest Molly Tracey in a typical girly girl performance, and Dave Franco, the younger brother of James Franco, made an impressive presence too. Finally, be prepared for a surprise cameo appearance from one of Hollywood’s greatest stars.

Overall, 21 Jump Street goes beyond anything that you would initially expect from it as it is truly one of the biggest surprises that you will see in 2012, or maybe even of all time. There are comedies similar to 21 Jump Street that only tend to focus on the laughs and nothing more, but we engage with them in that sense, we are emotionally attached to them, it has exciting action and in the case of some viewers, it is a good eye-candy feature too. Therefore, whether it is an intended reboot of the original TV show or not, 21 Jump Street is still a solid comedy that has proved its potential to be the start of a successful series.

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21 Jump Street (2012) review

Posted : 5 years, 10 months ago on 26 July 2012 08:23

I think this is probably the first movie I have seen with Jonah Hill as a main character that I have actually been kind of disappointed in. Not to say this movie was terrible, and maybe I was setting my expectations a little high, but I thought this movie was going to be better than it was. I guess I am just not used to seeing Jonah Hill in a slightly more seriously role than the other movies I have seen, or maybe seeing the skinnier Jonah Hill kind of threw me off. Overall, I wouldn't classify this as Jonah Hill's best movie, but it was a mediocre movie overall.

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21 Jump Street Review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 24 June 2012 04:36

After botching a drug bust, detectives Jenko and Schmidt are sent back to high school in order to bust a new synthetic drug operation. They must adapt to the new ways of high school, having been out for nearly seven years. The pair is sent back to classes, where they must deal with new cliques and changing social circles. Their mission is simple, find the dealers and infiltrate the suppliers.

To be honest, when first looking into this movie, I believed that it was going to be a flop. It seemed too much like every other comedy movie Jonah Hill had been in previously; high cchool partying, explicit jokes and crude comedy. Jonah Hill is known for that, throw in Channing Tatum and it appears on the surface as though you have a very stereotypical comedy.

I was completely wrong in that presumption. 21 Jump Street is fantastic at capturing the modern high school life. Different cliques, things that used to be considered nerdy are now cool. Those who were once popular are now just considered ignorant jocks. 21 Jump Street took the conventional cast idea; the popular jock teamed with the awkward nerd and threw it for a loop. Hill’s Schmidt was the one who got accepted into the cool crowd, while it was Tatum’s Jenko that was left to hang with the science crowd. It provided laughs as they both learned each others former world. Both actors did a fantastic job in their roles.

It was Dave Franco, younger brother of James Franco who commanded his screen time with a presence that was undeniable. He has this slick on screen swagger, a very confident comedic performance from him. There are very few people who could have pulled off the role like he did. Dave Franco is just as funny and cool on screen as his older brother James.

Where the film seemed to lack was storyline, it seemed predictable. It is a comedy, and that sometimes can mean it comes with the predictability factor. It sucks to say that about an extremely well-acted and explosive action comedy, but it is true. With a little more development to the plot, a little less comedic set-up and more impromptu twists, 21 Jump Street could have been a much better film in both the comedic and action categories.

That being said, I really do want to give it all the praise I can. I found myself heartily laughing, and mustering up all the cheer I could find while rooting for these two misfit characters. Really in the end from a comedy that is all you can hope for. Situations and characters that are worth cheering for, worth feeling invested in is what make a good comedy.

Throwing back to the 80s series of the same name was inevitable; most of them were done right. From the mess up of the address to the cameos from Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise, this film added its own brand of modern flare and still paid homage to the material it was derived from.

All in all, despite the minor flaws 21 Jump Street is a fantastic movie, full of solid laughs and well crafted comedy. I recommend seeing this movie; it will probably leave you laughing out loud when it is over. Check it out if you haven’t already. Certainly worth a viewing, if not more than one.

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One of the best buddy-cop comedies ever made.

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 3 June 2012 12:35

"You are here because you some Justin Beaver, Molly Cyrus lookin' motherfuckers."

When the first trailer for 21 Jump Street hit the web, I thought it looked like garbage. My first impression of it was that it was a cliché high school comedy with Channing Tatum. After seeing it due to positive buzz, I can admit that I was an idiot. I loved the hell out of this film. Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who previously made the animated masterpiece Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and written by Michael Bacall, who co-wrote Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 21 Jump Street was in the hands of true geniuses. I must say, I should've had faith in this film. Having never seen the original TV show, which I've heard is a lot darker than this reboot, I didn't know what to expect. Shockingly enough, this ended up being an action-comedy, and an excellent one thrown in for good measure.

In 2005, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) were high school students; Schmidt was clever academically but un-sporty and a miss with the girls, while Jenko was the opposite. Neither of them got to attend the school formal. Seven years later they're rookie cops, so inept they can't remember the caution they are supposed to give suspects when they arrest them. They're assigned to an undercover unit run by sardonic Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), which is located in the Aroma of Christ Church at 21 Jump Street. Their first assignment is to be sent undercover to a high school to discover who's supplying a dangerous new form of drug.

Jonah Hill and writer Michael Bacall came up with the story, and it's a total far cry from the original TV show. At first, it may be hard to believe that a jock like Jenko could be best friends with a nerd like Schmidt. Well, the back-story is briskly explained to us in the film's opening - Schmidt and Jenko initially hated each other in high school, but met yet again when they both enrolled into the police academy. They became friends as they started to help each other with the academic and physical side of the academy. This could've easily been a very shallow and superficial relationship, but Bacall takes time to establish that this friendship the two characters share is real and sincere. There's a very sweet side to it, and it definitely adds an emotional side to 21 Jump Street, which is, for most of the time, a film that you can't really take seriously.

Speaking of this, the humour is extremely self-aware to the point where you can't really take a lot of the film seriously. There are laughs at every minute - this is a how a comedy should be. Bacall definitely adds that self aware humour that was so present in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World to this. The film is pretty much a parody of buddy cop films like Bad Boys and Lethal Weapon, and makes fun of elements we see in these kinds of movies (for example, explosions). The film also made fun of itself several times. The satirical humour worked so well for me - there's a moment where the film literally jokes about how it's a remake of an old TV show. You gotta love a film that cracks a joke about itself. There's so much satire here that I haven't even begun naming half the things 21 Jump Street makes fun of. The change in era, the fact that Schmidt and Jenko look so out of place in the high school - there's so much here that's gonna make you laugh hysterically.

As Schmidt, Jonah Hill delivers the goods, and proves he can still be funny even when he's not fat. Hill is a lot more fit now having lost a lot of weight. He previous played the fat obnoxious guy in films like Superbad, but he definitely brings a new side to him 21 Jump Street. He's a lot more nerdy and respectable. Also impressing me was Channing Tatum. I was shocked at how convincing his acting was. Normally, he's wooden, but he brought a good sense of joy to his role. His performance as both convincing and humourous, and he worked so well with Hill. Ice Cube brings his A-game after recovering from the dismal films, Are We There Yet? and Are We Done Yet?. I'm glad to see him in a role his comfortable in. Brie Larson is sweet and likeable as Schmidt's love interest Molly, while James Franco's brother, Dave Franco, fails to impress as a student involved with the drug dealing. There are also small cameos from some big movie stars, but I'm not supposed to mention it.

Lord and Miller know how to do comedy well. After Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, they tackle the high school comedy, and they add that same style that made Meatballs such a success. There direction is perfect, adding a retro and goofy vibe to the film, ranging from the editing and visual effects, to the pop culture references. The film also features a few badass action sequences - it is still a cop movie after. There are two car chases, which still have a great deal of humour thrown into the mix. With the addition of an R rating, there are a few gory and quite amusing shootouts, and the film's climax is simply to die for.

I love this film. I simply LOVE it. As an aspiring filmmaker, these are kinds of films I love to make. I just can't get enough of self-awareness. The goofiness, the hilarious action sequences, and the satire - this film is a total must see. It's one of the best films of 2012 so far (I'd even say it's better than The Avengers), and for any fans of comedy, this is worth the price of admission. I will definitely be picking this up on Blu-Ray. It's that good.

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Surprisingly funny and assured

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 7 April 2012 01:44

"You are here because you some Justin Beaver, Miley Cirus lookin' motherfuckers."

Are you a fan of the old 21 Jump Street television show expecting this new film to be a respectful revamp? If so, stay far, far away from 2012's 21 Jump Street. Outside of the title and the basic premise of cops going undercover in a high school, this film has nothing in common with the old TV series as it adopts a completely different tone and spirit. The film exists in the same continuity as its predecessor, but it's a vehemently R-rated affair with a new slate of profane characters and a modern comedic sensibility. And surprisingly, it actually works, especially with the film evoking meta undertones as it raises some hilarious hell. See, the picture may seem like a flimsy excuse for filmmakers to steal ideas behind an old brand in lieu of original thinking, but 21 Jump Street subverts this by actually acknowledging its own derivative nature.

In high school, nerd Morton Schmidt (Hill) and jock Greg Jenko (Tatum) were sworn enemies, and they made each other's lives miserable. Seven years later, the two meet once again at the police academy. Here, Schmidt excels at exams but lacks the right physical attributes whereas Jenko is the exact opposite. Recognising that they make an ideal team since they fill each other's gaps, the two become best friends. After hopelessly botching a drug bust during their first few days as police officers, Jenko and Schmidt are transferred to the recently resurrected 21 Jump Street program run by a self-professed angry black captain (Cube). Given new identities and forced to pose as brothers, the two are sent to infiltrate a local high school in order to find the manufacturer of a new drug. Times have changed since their high school years, though - while Schmidt finds himself falling in with the cool crowd, Jenko ends up befriending the science geeks.

For those who need a history lesson, the original 21 Jump Street TV series ran from 1987 to 1991, and it's notable for bringing a young Johnny Depp into the spotlight. While it had its fun moments, the show wasn't a comedy as it treated its dramatic elements seriously. 2012's 21 Jump Street, on the other hand, is pretty much all comedy and satire. It's clear that writers Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall had a ball examining today's high school climate, with the film observing Jenko's utter bewilderment as the students shun his bad boy routine and display shocking newfound enthusiasm for studying. In one brilliant scene, Jenko also finds himself incapable of identifying some of the peculiar cliques which have now emerged. While revelling in this high school madness, 21 Jump Street is one hell of an entertaining riot, and even the standard-order plot elements are engaging. Once the final act begins to kick in, however, Hill and Bacall's script succumbs to some of the most eye-rolling comedy clichés imaginable, including break-up-to-make-up scenarios (Morton has to fix things with both Greg and his love interest), the predictable "getting kicked off the case" situation, and a climax ripped straight out of the "Action 101" handbook.

To put it bluntly, the trailers for this 21 Jump Street were awful, advertising the film as a dumbed-down reboot of the old TV show featuring the interminable "talents" of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. It seemed wrong to turn a classic police/high school drama into something more akin to Superbad. Happily, though, this is another classic case of poor marketing, as the finished movie is far more assured and satisfying than the trailers led us to believe. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have a gift for pacing, as they imbued the proceedings with an infectious energy that keeps the film moving forward at an agreeable clip. 21 Jump Street is uneven, however. While it lands plenty of laughs, some jokes are too easy and not every scene gels (a brawl between Schmidt and Jenko in particular needed tighter editing).

Against all odds, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are excellent and enormously funny here. Tatum has done a lot of growing up over the last few years - once bland and charmless, he has turned into a charismatic leading man with a gift for humour and a firm grasp on comic timing. As for Hill, he's far less irritating than he usually is, and he's often hilarious as Schmidt. But it's Ice Cube who steals the show here in his few scenes as the angry black police captain, spouting line after line of profanity-laced, tremendously funny dialogue. Who would've thought Ice Cube would be a standout in anything? Meanwhile, the sweet Brie Larson and a funny Dave Franco are pitch-perfect as a couple of high-schoolers, while Rob Riggle chews the scenery on several occasions as a teacher.

The thought of a modern reboot of a cancelled decades-old TV show is often cringe-worthy. With any other filmmakers onboard, 21 Jump Street would've been a half-assed attempt at nostalgia which lazily rehashed a few episodes of the series. It's therefore commendable and relieving that the creators seized the opportunity to make a genuinely funny, entertaining movie that's also unafraid to laugh at itself.


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21 Jump Street (2012) review

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 30 March 2012 02:05

From the beginning, a "21 Jump Street" movie was a collective groan of a concept.

Beloved by a generation of teens who didn't know any better, the 1980s show was probably one Johnny Depp casting call away from being quickly canceled and forgotten. As far as unnecessary remakes go, you could make a stronger argument for "B.J. and the Bear."

The filmmakers seemed to feel the same way, and their open disdain for conventions liberates the movie. This is a consistently funny film, which is good. But the true achievement is that it occasionally feels original.

"21 Jump Street," for anyone whose parents would only let them watch PBS from 1987 to 1991, was a Fox Network TV show about a group of young-looking cops who infiltrated high school crime rings. With a talented and memorably pretty cast including Depp and Holly Robinson, it was easy to look past the repetitive story lines and overload of sincerity.

The "21 Jump Street" movie takes the name and the part about the high schools, and then mocks pretty much everything else - with plenty of success. If writers Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill watched the show, they never took it seriously. You can almost see them on a couch in college, smoking dope and laughing about the fact that co-star Dustin Nguyen was registering for high school when he looked 35 years old.

The cops here are strapping Jenko (Channing Tatum) and dorky smart guy Schmidt (Hill). Rivals in high school, they develop a nice chemistry in the police academy and get forced into duty at the Jump Street program. From there, comedy takes precedence over story cohesion, in the tradition of other recommendable narrative messes, including "Pineapple Express" and "Anchorman."

Phil Lord and Chris Miller approach the film more like camp counselors than filmmakers, directing "21 Jump Street" as if they were paid by the tangent and non sequitur. For 10 minutes or so, the movie is a pretty good satire of sanctimonious teens in 2012. (Jenko is ostracized for his muscle car's bad mileage; the cool kids have cars that run on french fry oil.) Other scenes take aim at the slow-motion flying doves in John Woo movies, and the kinds of vehicles that explode in car chases. Why is there a biker gang in this film? Why not?

Tatum will get plenty of credit for holding his own with the comedy; every one of his scenes with a deputized trio of chemistry nerds is excellent. But screenwriter Bacall is the secret weapon here. He also had a hand in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," and you get the impression that with a little bit of free rein, he could make anything funny. A "T.J. Hooker" remake? "Hello, Larry: The Movie." If Bacall were attached, I'd give it a shot.

This film is even better if you come in with no spoilers and low expectations, so we will build it up no more. Know that it earns its R rating, mostly because of language and violence. And staying as cryptic as possible, we offer the following advice for fans of the original "21 Jump Street": Make sure you take your bathroom break before the prom starts.

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21 Jump Street (2012) review

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 25 March 2012 02:12

21 Jump Street admits from the start, in a nicely timed and very meta joke, that it's really just an attempt to mine the past for nostalgia and ideas-- in this case, adapting a somewhat beloved 80s TV show about undercover cops in high school. But while that might have been Sony's goal when they set up the movie with star and producer Jonah Hill, the movie itself is more of an excuse to combine a surprisingly touching buddy story with wild, absurdist comedy from the directors who also brought you Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Unpredictable and very silly but with real emotional stakes, 21 Jump Street makes up for a shaggy script with a wily, endearing energy that feels like anything but a tired retread.

The movie contains a lot of pleasant surprises, but none bigger than the performance from Channing Tatum, known until now as a hunky but dull romance and action star. He showed a glimmer of comedic potential in Ron Howard's The Dilemma, but it's nothing compared to what he brings to 21 Jump Street as Jenko, the former high school burnout who, as a cop, never quite bothered to learn the Miranda Rights and got through the Academy largely through coaching from his buddy Schmidt (Hill). We meet Jenko and Schmidt briefly in high school as two very different kinds of losers, and a zippy montage gets us to their first weeks on the job as bike cops, ineptly making an arrest in a public park and celebrating as if they've saved the planet. They're immature and not especially good at their jobs, but their unlikely friendship feels believable from the start, as Tatum and Hill make a surprisingly natural comedic duo.

As you know, Jenko and Schmidt are assigned to work undercover at a high school to bust a drug dealing ring, and from there the script by Michael Bacall takes on a very, very loose structure, setting up a romantic interest for Schmidt in hip high-schooler Molly (Brie Larson), a gang of geeky new friends for Jenko, and a weak antagonist in Dave Franco's Eric, a thoroughly modern drug dealer who writes songs about recycling and has plans to attend Berkeley. Schmidt and Jenko are confronting their own lingering demons from high school in very true and very funny ways, to the point that returning to the ostensible plot starts to feel like a drag after a while.

The movie hits a high point early when Jenko and Schmidt are forced to take the drugs they're rounding up and Tatum proves himself as an able physical comedian, but otherwise meanders its way to a big climax set-- where else?-- at prom. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller keep up the film's energy through a Michael Bay-inspired car chase, a genuinely fun party scene and a ridiculous fight taking place during a performance of Peter Pan, but in the rare moments where you're not laughing, it's hard not to notice that the narrative is spinning its wheels.

And yet, the rambling narrative makes more room for small supporting turns from a whole bunch of funny people, including Ellie Kemper as a science teacher fighting her attraction to Jenko, Jake Johnson as an overwhelmed (but also miscast) principal, Ice Cube as the harsh-talking police commander, and especially Rob Riggle as the track team coach trying to turn Schmidt into a superstar. A lot of these characters don't get as much screentime as they deserve, but they add to 21 Jump Street's weird tapestry of joke after joke after joke, a comedic world constantly teetering on the edge of logic and getting away with way more than you'd think was possible.

If you saw the delightfully weird Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, it's less surprising that 21 Jump Street is as light on its feet and funny as it is. But from Tatum's perfect comedic chops to the gonzo drug-use sequence to the well-timed action beats of the finale, 21 Jump Street never runs out of surprises, compensating for a lack of narrative steam with a wit and enthusiasm unmatched by most modern comedies. Who would have guessed that a 21 Jump Street movie would be not just good, but in its best moments, kind of great?

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