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“21 Jump Street” – Early Review (POSITIVE)

February 16, 2012

Anyone remember the 80s? How about 80s television? Cop shows like “Miami Vice” or…I don’t know…”21 JUMP STREET”!?!??!!? JOHNNY DEPP’S CAREER LAUNCHER! Undercover cops pretending to be high schoolers to bust drug dealers! Ring a bell? Of course not, most of today’s youth are not even aware of that shows existence. I do remember watching reruns of that show on Nick at Nite, but it never really stuck, I just accepted the fact that’s where Johnny Depp got his start and the rest was history.

Now it’s 2012 (not so 80s) and not-so-fat-anymore Jonah Hill is bringing “21 Jump Street” back for all the masses in a comedic turn based on the somewhat beloved series. For many, including myself, I wasn’t hyped to see this at all. I’m no fan of Channing Tatum and ever since the weight loss I’ve been pondering if Jonah will still be ‘funny’.  I’m happy to report that after getting to see the movie a month in advance, Hill’s rendition of “21 Jump Street” is FUCKING HILARIOUS!!!! It’s quite a rare thing, you’ve got this comedy that sounds kind of idiotic beyond belief, and even sounds unnecessary on paper, but somehow turns out to be one of the funniest movies in years. Seriously, we might have a new “Superbad” on our hands; better yet its “Superbad” meets “Hot Fuzz”. Take that to the bank haters!

Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) were polar opposites in there adolescent years. Schmidt was the geeky loser & Jenko was the beloved popular kid. Years later, their path’s cross again as they both join the police force. A bond is made and they soon enough help one another out getting through Police academy and set out to be a badass crime-fighting duo. Of course the life of a cop isn’t all what it’s cracked out to be. Schmidt & Jenko screw up on their first day on the job and are relocated to an old division in the police force; the secret Jump Street unit.

Jump Street use their youthful appearances to go undercover in a local high school. As they trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, Schmidt and Jenko risk their lives to investigate a violent and dangerous drug ring, a new synthetic drug called H.S.F. However, they find that high school is nothing like they left it just a few years earlier – and neither expects that they will have to confront the terror and anxiety of being a teenager again and all the issues they thought they had left behind.

The films overall motivation is to satirize cop films, much in the same vein as Edgar Wright’s “Hot Fuzz”, yet “21 Jump Street” isn’t afraid to be a little more in your face about the whole satire, while still maintaining that balance of it’s silly stature. There’s a line in the movie that goes on the lines of saying that all old ideas being rehashed for today’s people and they don’t even notice it for being lazy. Well clearly we were all thinking that when we saw the early trailers for this film. It’s refreshing to have a comedy being oh so blunt. A lot of the thanks has to go to Jonah Hill, it was his motivation to get this movie off the ground, by crafting a screenplay with Michael Bacall, having them turn such a serious series into an action-comedy was a bold step, especially fans of the series accepting it.

The pairing of Jonah Hill & Channing Tatum was sidesplitting to say the least. They had the best kind of chemistry a comedy could ask for and who would’ve thought that Channing could not only act, but also be funny?! And I might regret saying this, but I think Channing was funnier than Jonah. I guess what I mean by that statement is the fact of the matter is we’ve been so used to Jonah Hill as the funny man for a long time now, and having Channing Tatum in a full blown comedy, which is something you don’t see him doing, we’ve adapted as viewers to Jonah’s humor, we know what we’re expecting from him. Channing on the other hand is a complete mystery and I even think Channing Tatum-haters out there are gonna be quite surprised by the comedic performance he turns.

The movie may take a few predictable turns here and there, but it’s really all fun  & games. There’s one scene that may not sit well with some, when a certain character has to pick up a body part of their’s with their mouth, that had some MAJOR reactions from the crowd. Still, it’s one of the better satires around in quite sometime and is just fueled by non-stop laughs after laughs. Supporting players such as Ice Cube, Dave Franco (James’ lil brother), Ellie Kemper (“The Office”), Chris Parnell, Rob Riggle, and Nick Offerman (better known as Ron Swanson of “Parks & Rec”) are all fantastic in their supporting roles. I don’t want to give away too much spoilers, but keep your eyes out for a few familiar faces from the original series, fans are in for a shocking surprise.

Overall, LOVED LOVED LOVED this movie! It’s been a while since a movie made me laugh so much from start to finish. Seriously, my sides hurt from all the laughing. I’ll be seeing it again come it’s opening weekend. It’s already made my list as one of my favorite comedies of 2012. Yes people, the movie was that good! you’re in for a real surprising treat, that’s all I can really say. Give it a shot.

GRADE: A-

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