Monday, August 20, 2012

21 Jump Street (2012)

JohnnyTwoToes finds this TV series reboot a Hit and Miss affair

I was never a big fan of the series "21 Jump Street". It's not to say I would not have liked it but I just never had enough time to keep up with it. I never watched much of the Star Trek series but I have loved most of the films, so I can be objectively honest. The film version of 21 Jump Street I am sure does not follow the series too closely as the language they use would never be allowed on prime time tv. 

The film stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as a couple of bumbling cops who mean well but really can't seem to get it together as partners and start out as bike cops in a park. They grew up together, went to school together and of course, Schmidt (Hill) is a chubby nerd and Jenko (Tatum) is the high school jock; good looking and a babe magnet. Jenko of course tortures the hapless Schmidt but when bad luck hits them both, they become friends. 

Flash forward to the men as cops, and after a botched bust in the park, they get booted by their new Captain (Ice Cube) down to Jump Street where they go undercover as students busting up a drug ring. Schmidt and Jenko get in trouble on their first day and get separated sending Jenko to the science nerds and Schmidt to the drama club. 

What follows is some standard action fare with some amusing bits, but after the critical raves for this film, I was thinking this film would have been a little deeper. 21 Jump Street is littered with foul language and a lot of falic symbol gags and jokes that came across more tawdry than humorous. It all seemed out of place and the comedy for the most part fell flat. There are some good scenes and I especially found Channing Tatum quite funny when he is hanging out with the science nerds. Up until this point, Mr. Tatum had not impressed me with his range, with the exception of 'The Eagle'. Here he plays his character with with the right amount of reserved comic timing. He does not have to oversell anything about his character's insecurities or eccentricities and that makes his scenes funny. 

Michael Bacall's screenplay (with some help from Jonah Hill) tries to be funny but that seems to be what is wrong with it. It tries too hard. Instead of writing the characters as 2 or 3 dimensional they are simply props for corny action and lame romance between Schmidt and Molly (Brie Larson), Schmidt's co-star in the play they are starring in the film. Ms. Larson is a lovely young lady and a great actress but here, she is represented simply as "The Girl". Bacall's script does not delve into any of these characters as people. They are all just gags in a one joke film. 

The film is directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (yes, it took two people to direct this film) and although they show promise in some areas, in 21 Jump Street we can only watch a film we have seen hundreds of times elsewhere and better. 21 Jump Street is not an awful film, however and it does have its moments but, it is a lifeless one that fails to deliver the goods it promises. 

21 Jump Street-**1/2 out of 4 


  1. 21 Jump Street is one in a long line of movies which came from something else (i.e. book, TV show, and remake). The buddy film format is cute and I enjoyed the movie. I was talking to my coworkers at Dish about the movie and they reminded me of Dish Online which has the original series available to stream wherever I am. I was watching it this morning on the train into work on my new Samsung Galaxy S III. I have to be honest though, Johnny Depp was much more entertaining in the original series.

  2. I hear ya, Joey. I don't know something just did not sit right with me during this film. It seemed as if they tried too hard to "force" us to laugh as opposed to "causing" us to laugh. The stars had chemistry and there was a few laughs. Who knew Channing Tatum could be funny? But the mystery could have been better written.


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