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21 Jump Street
Genre Comedy
 
Review:

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are not a match made in buddy cop heaven. Hill, best known for comedy, got a tip of the hat when he received an Oscar nomination for his role in Moneyball, while Channing Tatum's range is best encapsulated by boxing legend Muhammed Ali's mantra: float like a butterfly (romance) and sting like a bee (action). They seem worlds apart, yet these two Hollywood hopefuls bring a surprising chemistry to screen in the TV series film adaptation, 21 Jump Street.

The '80s TV series is best remembered as a star-making vehicle for Johnny Depp, who was probably the best thing about the show exploring the misadventures of young looking undercover cops going back to high school. The 21 Jump Street movie is loosely based on the series, taking the basic premise and warping it into a stoner teen comedy about two underachieving undercover cops, as they attempt to a drug ring, while sampling a bit of the high school life they never knew.

21 Jump Street is like a prequel to The Other Guys... part Superbad, part Never Been Kissed and part Pineapple Express... a nostalgic, anti-teen movie and stoner action comedy with a swizzle of romance.

Jenko the jock (Tatum) and Schimdt the nerd (Hill) have a teen role reversal as the new rules of cool in school switch from the stereotypes of the '80s to the new "holistic" picture of popular. Suddenly the somewhat smart, overlooked and ridiculed Schmidt has a crack at being cool, while Jenko's good looks only take him so far before banding with the outcasts.

This blast of immature, fun and raunchy action-comedy is probably what you'd expect from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who are best known for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Extreme Movie. 21 Jump Street gets its hooks into the same tongue-in-cheek undercurrent of drugs, profanity and violence that filtered through cult hit, Pineapple Express and Superbad with a similar co-lead experiment.

Stephen J. Cannell, the typewriter guy, best known for The A-Team would probably not "love it when a plan comes together" after this irreverent mock-up of 21 Jump Street. The comedy is offensive at times, the language is more Ice Cube than Mr. T and the emphasis is on comedy, not drama. Although he probably would have been a bit more sympathetic after seeing the box office figures...

21 Jump Street may not be a faithful adaptation, but it's a hit with audiences who have been craving a bit of outrageous tag-team comedy, the sort of throwaway entertainment that delivers the feel good without relying on the formula. It's not a must-see and won't tickle your grey cells much, but as far as guilty pleasures go... this one's enjoyable.

The bottom line: Entertaining

 

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