21 Jump Street
What She said:
21 Jump Street latches on to a classic formula
that has been used time and time again—an adult goes back to
high school, undercover of course, and learns it bit about
him- or herself in the meantime. Of course, it’s not
easy. Said adult usually has flashbacks of traumatic
teen years that they must overcome. But typically all
works out well in the end.
In this movie, there are actually two gents who go back to
high school. They’re young failing bike cops, yearning
for more excitement but hopelessly screwing up at every
turn. Jenko (Channing Tatum) was actually quite popular
in high school, but he’s also ridiculously dumb. The guy
can’t even remember the Miranda Rights. Schmidt (Jonah
Hill) was a super loser in high school, and, although
intelligent, is a bit too bumbly to succeed as a cop.
So, the department assigns them to undercover duty in a local
high school that has been experiencing a surge in this new,
deadly designer drug. The guys take the job very
seriously, and actually make strides and figuring out who is
dealing and supplying the drug to students. Of course,
there’s lots of laughs as well, as Jenko and Schmidt struggle
to fit in to today’s high school life. The spoiler is
that high school culture has changed a lot in the few years
since they’ve graduated.
The movie is pretty funny, although there was a certain
non-creative vulgarism that annoyed me. Don’t get me
wrong; I love vulgar humor (think Superbad).
But this vulgar just involves using the same couple of
offensive words over and over, not exactly the most
outside-the-box stuff. I think it’s just a bit of lazy
writing. Aside from that little peeve, I thought the
movie was pretty good. Channing Tatum, who I usually
think is terrible, was funny. You can tell that he’s
slowly becoming a better actor, although I’m not certain he’s
really stretching his abilities by playing Jenko. Once I
see him perform Shakespeare I’ll be truly impressed.
Skinny Jonah Hill is a bit startling, but he plays the role of
Schmidt well. He puts on his typical “I’m a loser who
just wants to be liked” persona, and it works.
There is a beyond awesome cameo in this movie that I can’t
believe I didn’t hear about beforehand. If you’re
fortunate enough to be unaware of it as well, it’ll really
make your day. 21 Jump Street is a bit campy, a
bit action packed, and a bit silly, but it all wraps up in a
nice little bundle that’s easy to digest.
What he said:
Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are the
exact opposites. Jenko is popular, good at sports, and a hit
with the ladies, while Schmidt just wants to be noticed. He’s
a smart and nice enough guy, but is the kind of person who is
mocked by the likes of Jenko. He just wants to be accepted,
but is mocked by the “cooler” kids.
All of that changes though when the two see each other for
the first time in years at the police academy. The two are
exact opposites and that translates into their strength at the
academy. Jenko is really good at all the physical stuff, while
Schmidt’s test scores are through the roof. The two realize
this and team up to help one another. They actually end up
becoming best friends and later partners.
The only problem is now that they have finally graduated,
their careers haven’t panned out like they had hoped. They are
stuck doing things like enforcing littering laws or helping
people retrieve their Frisbee out of a pond. That all changes
when they make a drug-related arrest. The problem with that is
they forgot to do it by the book and the suspects are free to
This leads to a new special assignment. They are picked to
lead a sting operation in a local high school. Their
assignment is to pose as new students and find out who is
dealing this new kind of drug. This leads to all kinds of
shenanigans and hilarity.This is a pretty typical raunchy
action/comedy, but hey if it works it works.
Channing Tatum has been in some terrible chick flicks and
just a bunch of bad movies in general. But he has really honed
is craft lately. I hear Magic Mike is actually pretty
good and he was hilarious in this as far as I was concerned. I
always thought he was kind of a meathead, so to play that role
really worked for me. He took what I had always assumed
about him – and obviously some casting directors did as well –
and just went with it. It works, because the character is
Jonah Hill is his typical self playing the, “I just want to
be liked” guy. That isn’t anything new, but it works for him.
It’s especially funny when the modern teenager responds more
to him that previous popular kid Jenko. This completely throws
both of them a curveball and adds a nice layer to the movie.
It would have been easy to make Tatum’s character the popular