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21 Jump Street (2012)
21 Jump Street
Directors: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Writers: Michael Bacall, Jonah Hill, Patrick Hasburgh, Stephen J. Cannell
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Ice Cube, Rob Riggle, Dave Franco, DeRay Davis, Ellie Kemper, Jake M. Johnson, Nick Offerman, Holly Robinson Peete, Johnny Pemberton, Stanley Wong, Justin Hires, Brett Lapeyrouse, Lindsey Broad, Caroline Aaron, Joe Chrest, Geraldine Singer, Dakota Johnson, Rye Rye, Valerie Tian, Jaren Mitchell, Johnny Simmons, Keith Kurtz, Randal Reeder, Spencer Boldman, Chanel Celaya, Carol Sutton, Andrea Frankle, Haley Farris, Peter DeLuise, Richard Grieco, Johnny Depp
Synopsis: A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence
21 Jump Street Intro (Season 1)
Undercover Cops Going Back to High School to kick some a**
Would you want to relive high school again if given the opportunity? Loosely based on the original eighties show starring Johnny Depp. The TV series was essentially about a bunch of cops that were selected because of how remarkably young they looked for their ages, to go undercover to investigate various high schools for illegal activities. After watching a few episodes, I have to say the series is arguably one of the better TV dramas that I've ever seen, and it manages to convey an intricate crime mystery aspect in each episode. Sure, there was some comedic elements in the show, but it's not enough to where I would label the TV series a comedy by any means.
As for the movie adaptation, it's more of an action comedy if anything else. Therefore, if you walk into this movie expecting it to resemble the same style and feel of the original show, then you're going to walk out severely disappointed. No, this film essentially more of a reboot of "21 Jump Street." Sure, it's established early on that it takes place in the same universe that the original 80's show took place in, as this film allegedly takes place decades later after Johnny Depp and his crew have long since left the program. In other words, this is "21 Jump Street: The Next Generation!" Well...not really, but you get the point.
Although fans of the original show might be pleased to know that some of the original actors of the TV series have small cameos in this film, but I won't spoil that part for those that wish to see the movie.
Besides, I still need to go over my thoughts on the film adaptation of "21 Jump Street." As I stated earlier, the film is completely different than the TV series; in spite of the fact that it allegedly takes place within the same universe. The film is essentially more of a buddy cop action comedy, where the two main actors have something of a "bro-mance" with each other. What's a "bro-mance" you may ask? It's simple. I'm sure everyone knows what the term "romance" means, but "bro-mance" is something a bit different. It's basically a term that's been used recently by a lot of film critics to describe two so called male buddies, who share a platonic relationship, but they become so freaking close that they feel like brothers; hence the term "bro-mance."
At the beginning of the movie, it's established that both the main characters don't like each other in high school. Schmidt (Jonah Hill) is a nerd, who often chokes in various situations. For example, when he tries to ask out his high school crush to the prom, she immediately replies before he can finish, "Your seriously not asking me out are you?" She says with sort of a condescending tone; which causes Jenko to make fun of him. Meanwhile, Jenko (Channing Tatum) is the stereotypical brain dead jock, who's only concern is getting laid and having a good time.
However, as luck would have it, they both coincidentally find themselves together again, when they both decide to enroll at the police academy. Schmidt being the smart one, he's easily able to ace the written tests by the academy, but he struggles with the physical stuff because of his physique. Whereas Jenko, he excels in the physical training, but struggles to keep up with the written tests; hence a friendship is forged between them. In a way, they help each other out to survive police academy together, as both yearn to become hot shot cops.
Unfortunately, a potential bust goes sour, as it forces the chief of police to transfer them to a program that's been revived from the 1980's. The chief even makes a clever joke on how the people that run the program are out of fresh ideas, so they're just rehashing old ones from the eighties. Granted, it's a very subtle joke, but it pretty much speaks volumes to how I'm sure many people probably felt when they first heard about this movie.
Anyway, the program they're assigned to is located on "21 Jump Street", where they're both given false identities to pose as high school students. Unlike the original TV series, the protagonists, in this movie, are also forced to live with Schmidt's mom to keep up the high school facade. Sadly, she's less than understanding about it, as even her own friend almost blows his cover in one scene. To make a long story short, they end up getting their fake identities mixed up, to where now we have Schmidt hanging out with the popular kids to gain information on a new drug ring; while Jenko is forced to hang out with nerds and outcasts. Indeed, it's a huge role reversal for both of them, and it's one that does cause conflicts later on as well.
I won't go into too much more detail about the plot, as that wouldn't be fair to readers. However, I will say that "21 Jump Street" is fairly decent for what it tries to be. In many ways, the film already knows that people won't take it seriously since it's a reboot of an old TV series, so it tries to establish itself as something different to stand on it's own merit. On it's own merit, it's not a bad movie at all. Sure, the film suffers from being extremely predictable, cliched, and relies on various stereotypes to derive it's humor.
Also, the comedy aspect of this film can get a bit too raunchy for some viewers, as it happens to be one of those "d**k joke" movies. Meaning, you're going to find a lot of jokes relating heavily to homosexuality and male genitalia. Therefore, if you're easily grossed out, or offended, by that kind of humor, then I'd probably pass on this one completely. Not saying it's a bad movie, but there's a lot of "d**k jokes" in this one.
Having said all that, the film is still surprisingly fun to watch. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum work great together, and we even see a side of Channing Tatum's acting that most viewers rarely ever see from him; which is the ability to actually be funny in a movie.
Plus, it's a pretty funny low brow "d**k joke" film if you're into movies in ilk of "Hangover" and such. But, if you're expecting this film to capture the same great dramatic feel of the original eighties show, then you won't find it here.
Overall, I would still say the original TV series is clearly the best between the two, as I would advise anyone that's yearning to see a good cop drama to check it out. As for the movie, it's fairly decent for what it's going for, and I'll admit that it was funny. But, it's not a great movie by any means, as I'd have to give it a two and a half out of four. It's good for a rental, but I wouldn't bother seeing this one in theaters, as it's not worth the admission price.