Review – 21 Jump Street

Learning from my mistakes

So last week “This Means War” left a bad taste in the mouth and I was desperate for something in the cinema that can be called a “brainless film” to be half decent. I don’t even demand to be wowed. I just wanted to have a little laugh and let the pool of dribble collect on the floor as a switch my brain off for 90 minutes. The decision to venture out and try another film of this kind straight away was a hard one. During the trailers last week I noticed this little film, “21 Jump Street”. Watching the trailer I laughed a couple of times (twice more than in This Mean War) but I was not convinced. What made me go was that I once said the same thing about another film starring Jonah Hill, “Superbad” and I was wrong not to go and see that.

So that’s where the  misleading by-line comes from. Not because this film is terrible. Far from it. Basically “21 Jump Street” was exactly what I was after and I didn’t let it pass like Superbad.

One thing that this film has on “This Means War” is that its funny. It even verges on really good at times. This is mainly down to the writers actually sitting down, reading out the jokes and physically seeing if it made anyone laugh. The writers of T.M.W. seemed to just take situations that might rise a laugh and inserted a mixture of funny sounding words and crude sex references. Where as the 21 Jump team have taken a story and then thought about how to make it funny. Basically they took a bit of time and craft unlike last weeks offering.

So what is 21 Jump Street? Well it was a T.V. series about young-looking cops going under cover in high schools and collages . Now I don’t know about you but I had never heard of the show before I saw the film. Little did I know that the show had ran for 5 seasons, having 103 episodes in the process and starred non other than Johnny Depp, so it must have had some class and a bit of a following. I don’t think the film takes a lot from the TV series other than the name and the concept. It is about two guys Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and  Jenko (Channing Tatum) who both head into police training after being polar opposites at High School (Tatum the jock and would-you-believe-it Hill the nerd). While training they become best friends and partners in the force. It goes a bit wrong for them when they attempt their first bust. After making a bit of a balls up they are put on the 21 Jump Street Crew because they can both pass for high school kids. They go under cover in a high school where lo and behold everything has changed. It is now cool to be a nerd and Hill’s character goes from the most unpopular kid in school during his own high school experience to being the cool guy. And in a “shocking” but not all that upsetting twist Tatum character goes from prom king to outcast. The guys are trying to bring down a drug ring and…well….you can kind of guess the storyline which concludes at Prom.

It is a very good story. It keeps ticking along nicely and dose not get to bogged down in little tangents like some similar films do. It keeps a good pace and the laughs have a good rhythm to them aswell. Basically you are looking at a film somewhere between Role Models and the remake of Starsky and Hutch.

I would also like to give a tip-of-the-hat to Jonah Hill for his role in this film. Not only does he star but he is also one of the writing double team. Now I have already praised the writing for an almost perfect brainless film but I think that Hill’s role has giving me a new-found respect for the guy. I liked him in Superbad but he seemed to be a bit of a one trick pony since then playing a slightly older version of the same character. He then had small yet decent bit parts in films such as Get him to the Greek and  Funny People. I was also not a fan of his work in Cyrus, mainly as he seemed to be doing that “Jonah Hill” role again. But I feel this film shows another side to him, which is also helped with his work developing the story line. I have definitely changed my view on the guy. He was also well received for his supporting role in “Moneyball” (a film I cant wait to see) which show he must be able to act beyond the “same old, same old” of his early career.

This film has also been giving the green light for a sequel which I am a bit unsure about. I’m never sure a film like this can endure another outing (god they tried/are trying with American Pie) but they are going to keep the same team and if they can come up with a good script, different enough to this film, then I suppose I am all for it.

So 21 Jump Street is well worth a watch, it’s no classic but what films have been lately.


Till next time,


Posted on March 22, 2012, in Film, Review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great review. Hill and Tatum are great together here and add a lot to this film’s comedy but it’s just the way it is all written that makes it even richer. It’s making fun of those high school comedy conventions but at the same time, is inventing it’s own as it goes on.

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