When I first heard about the remake of the hit 80’s television show 21 Jump Street, I really didn’t know what to think. In my mind I thought that it was going to be bad. I mean, what was I supposed to expect? How was an R-rated comedy done by the directors of 2009’s Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs going to be good? But the trailers and footage that I was seeing that lead up to 21 Jump Street’s theatrical release had me interested in the film.
How terribly clever and fresh this movie was! Every single thing that “should have” happened in a modern comedy didn’t here. Time after time, I’ve grown tired of watching the same formulaic comedies all the time. The film played on the fact that it was a remake, and basically made fun of itself with a great joke early on in the film about Hollywood’s tendency to remake movies and television shows. Props should be given to screenwriter Michael Bacall.
I got to tell you older readers, that this movie is a pretty realistic look at young people day. The “cool kids” aren’t who you would expect to be. Nowadays it’s fine to enjoy reading comic books and to care about your grades. I personally thought that it was pretty entertaining to see two characters who aren’t exactly fresh out of High School react to these changes.
I was intrigued and somewhat worried by the pairing of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, but how pleasantly surprised I was. They play off each other very well and they seem to have a real connection in the film and outside of it. Their respected characters get to experience the others old lives and are able to relate to each other better and form a closer bond than they had before. Their characters come full circle when they get to fulfill their wishes they had at the beginning of the film that they weren’t able to achieve.
A few years ago I thought that Channing Tatum was pretty talentless. But boy was I wrong. His performance as ex-cool kid Jenko was perfect. This role was made for Tatum. Jonah Hill, who plays ex-nerd Schmidt, was good, as he usually is in comedies. Ice Cube has some of the best lines in the film, playing out the role of angry Captain Dickson. Dave Franco plays the environment-friendly drug dealer Eric Molson. He’s pretty convincing and plays the role well. There is also a pretty amazing cameo near the end of the flick, so if someone begins talking about the ending, plug your ears!
I really enjoyed what the film had to say about “nerds”. 21 Jump Street showed us that “nerds” can be “cool people” and that “cool people” can be “nerds”. When included, comedies don’t usually explore the “nerd” persona and they just show us what we expect a movie to show us when featuring a “nerd”. A smart kid that gets picked on, and that’s that. This film showed that at first, but explored the “nerd” characters in a positive and refreshing light.
I was a little disappointed that the great comedic moments somewhat began to falter nearing the end of the film in replace of an action sequence. However, since that sequence was well shot and let a character make a reference to/take advantage of something he learned earlier in the film, I was all right with it. And besides, what kind of buddy cop movie doesn’t have an action scene filled with explosions and gunfire?
This film was a huge surprise for me. What I thought was going to be a typical formulaic remake turned out to be my personal favorite comedy released in 2012. 21 Jump Street is a great example of a remake done right and is a refreshing comedy that breaths some well needed air into the genre.
Director: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Screenplay: Michael Bacall
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle
Running Time: 109 Minutes