"21 Jump Street" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
In a world where reboots are constantly being pumped out by Hollywood studios, it's hard to find reboots that are actually decent. However, Phil Lord's and Chris Miller's 2012 adaptation of "21 Jump Street", based off the popular television show that starred Johnny Depp, isn't just decent. It's not only a fantastic reboot of an old series, but it is a great comedy film that has fantastic performances from Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.
The movie opens up in 2005, where our main characters, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum), are experiencing two different versions of high school. Jenko is the dumb jock that everyone loves, while Schmidt is the cringey nerd that has no friends and is constantly bullied by everyone at school. When they unexpectedly meet seven years later at police academy, the two decide to put aside their differences and become friends to help each other get through the academy.
Now best friends, they have found themselves at the bottom of the barrel by being cops at a local park, thwarting little kids trying to feed ducks. When they are then transferred to a new police division at 21 Jump Street, the two cops are forced to go undercover in a high school, hoping to find the dealers and bring down the supplier of a deadly drug that is now going around the school. However, when other students start to bring each of the two friends into different cliques and clubs, they are forced to pick between their friendship and their mission or doing what they always wanted to during their high school days.
From the start of this movie to the end, this film is jam-packed with hilarious lines of dialogues and outrageous situations that our characters get themselves into. Because of that, they are able to give the audience such a fun time throughout the entire runtime, and it never really slows down or drags at all. Sure, there are some scenes that sort of deviate from the plot or are dragged out for no reason, but it is heavily outweighed by the absolute great comedic scenes present here.
Tatum and Hill are absolutely so much fun to watch, and they have fantastic on-screen chemistry with one another. They act like they are genuinely best friends, and it doesn't feel like they are playing a role at all. I think this is very impressive on their part as many of these buddy cop movies feel forced at times, but it never feels this way between these two. Who would've thought Hill and Tatum would make great on-screen partners in a comedy film like this?
I do think the story and the dialogue is very well written, and is able to flow through every scene seamlessly. There are times where the comedy feels forced or just falls flat, but like I mentioned earlier, this film does so much right that it is easy to forget about the negatives. It's not like this movie is out to be the next "Citizen Kane" or anything like that, but to be what it's meant to be - a genuinely good comedy film. They even hint on that throughout the movies, with lines referencing how people are too lazy to think of anything new and always bring back the times of old that already happened. While we're on this note, I absolutely loved the cameo appearance by Johnny Depp and Peter DeLouise.
Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ice Cube, and Rob Riggle all star as supporting characters, each I think does a great job of playing their characters. Ice Cube plays the same sort of character he does in every film he has starred in in the last ten years, but it is so fun to watch him be that badass character that everyone is afraid of. The other three, on the other hand, do a fantastic job of being these asshole-y teen characters that are much different than our two main characters. Perhaps that is why it is so funny that Schmidt and Jenko are able to stay undercover for so long.
Like mentioned earlier, many reboots that come out anymore are just lazy attempts to try and bring in money to the studio. "21 Jump Street", on the other hand, has the sole purpose of delivering an entertaining film that brings back some nostalgia from the late 80's television show. I applaud the filmmakers and everyone involved in crafting such a fun and hilarious film, and it makes me wish that all reboots were like this one.