Movie Review: ’21 Jump Street’


’21 Jump Street’

Davalyn Stepzinski

Occasionally, there are those moments when you cannot for the life of you explain why you like something. I could say it was the oddly perfect casting, the surprisingly clever writing (amongst the guy humor of course), or the fact it genuinely made me laugh out loud. However I do not think I could pinpoint it exactly, other than that I had fun. And fun is the best way I can describe “21 Jump Street.”

I have not seen the original television show, despite being a fan of Johnny Depp for the last nine years, which makes me unable to see whether the film followed closely or loosely. Thus I can only offer an opinion on the film itself and not the concept of “21 Jump Street” as a whole. That being said, I saw the film due to a friend bringing it up one day and talking about how almost no one would go see it with her. After a brief explanation of the plot and a guarantee that Depp would make a cameo, I was sold. Imagining Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum coming face to face with Depp on screen was enough for me.

The film opens with a throwback to high school in the 90s, where Schmidt (Hill) is quickly characterized as the smart kid that never got in with the ‘in’ crowd and Jenko (Tatum) is the athletic bully that enjoyed beating him down. Somehow, they both decide to become police officers and during a ridiculously fun montage (there are quite a few of these and each is great), the two mutually decide to be friends, because they can pool their talents together. As these sorts of films go, they graduate the police academy only to have the glamorous honor of patrolling the local park on police issued bikes. Insert another wacky montage and we understand how extremely boring their patrol is. As predicted, a break falls into their laps and long story short, the two find themselves working undercover back in high school in an effort to overthrow a drug ring.

One of the best parts about this film is that it does not try to be more than entertainment; it knows what it is and it is smart about it. Many consider Tatum to be quite attractive, but dumber than a blender in a bathtub. The film has no qualms about using this knowledge to its advantage, but because Tatum is such a good sport, the film repays him with some sympathetic moments. Hill can be easily construed as the nerdy type who also lacks street smarts, and with his weight loss, he seems to stand a little taller next to lookers like Tatum. He’s also not afraid to do more physical humor, in which he holds himself well. Putting both together is an unexpected duo of comedy that creates a splendid bromance that will no doubt leave you cracking up whether you want to or not.

I found the stereotyping of high school in this present day and age hysterical, especially when juxtaposed with the flashback at the beginning. I would like to say that it seems mildly accurate, but seeing as I am not a high school student, I can only guess. In my overactive opinion however, I believe it to be a great version of what I could expect to see if I were to muck down my high school halls again, with jokes at things like backpacks, sustainability, and the new music scene. The shenanigans that Hill and Tatum run into while convincing their classmates and teachers that they are indeed high school students, brings together some interesting elements, from shout-outs to “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” type animations to “Freaks and Geeks” type situations. It all runs together pretty solid and brings the entertainment value in all the more.

Thus the stellar acting from Hill, Tatum, and the rest of the wise-cracking cast, combined with the witty writing and execution, it is easy to laugh off the excessive guy humor jokes, because this film is worth your time and it will put a smile on your face.