This 2012 comedy starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum has previously received mixed film blog reviews, from the very good to the very bad, with some clearly not finding many of the jokes to their taste. Nevertheless, being rated 15 in the UK, it is not quite rude or explicit enough to warrant an 18 rated certificate, but it certainly seems to come close. But for all its jokes, stunts, criticisms and praise, is this movie worthy of being branded by some as ‘the best comedy of 2012′?
21 Jump Street is about two mismatched, underachieving cops who are sent undercover to bring down a drug ring in a local high school. Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are best friends despite their high school differences. While Schmidt endured a dreadful time being a ‘dork’ while at school, Jenko was always the popular cool kid. Years later, they go on to help each other graduate from Police Academy; Schmidt helping Jenko academically, and Jenko helping Schmidt with physical training. After making a mess of what should have been a straightforward park arrest and since they also look like high school students anyway, they are sent undercover to infiltrate a high school drug ring and find the supplier. They go on to find themselves out of their depth in classes, in the wrong places at the wrong times and for Schmidt (named ‘Doug’ while undercover), far too involved with being a high school student and forgetting why he is really there. Can they remember their duties and reunite to bring down a menacing group of drug suppliers?
We’ll start with the comedic side of the movie which is its main asset. There is no shortage of humourous moments in this film, ranging from the jokes that you’ll simply smile at, to jokes with genuine laugh-out-loud potential. Most of the humour is not something you would find in a Bond movie; much of it is ‘rude’ and worthy of it being rated 15 (and sometimes you would think 18). This is to say that the majority of jokes would more likely be found funny by the younger generation than the older. The comedy is, however, what makes this a good movie and would not really be much without it. Therefore if you don’t like the humour, you would not have that high of an opinion of 21 Jump Street after watching.
The movie is fairly fast paced, with some of the action sequences including gun fights and car chases. Though these are entertaining, the underlying element even to these scenes remains the comedy. Some of the action is even what I would describe as ‘extreme’, and results in some briefly graphic injuries. Big explosions are also present, as is the case with any movie that involves guns or fighting. There are also references to drugs and drug use (naturally, because they are trying to infiltrate a drug ring) but it should be understood that these are not real drugs. Made up drugs with some made up effects on anyone who takes it, as Schmidt and Jenko discover to their horror when they are made to take them in front of the dealer while undercover. Schmidt also finds himself in a romantic dilemma as he falls for real high school student Molly Tracey (Brie Larson). As such, this movie has so many different mini-plots and there is no lack of interest or direction at any point. All with the underlying comedic element, this is a powerful combination that makes this film funny and entertaining.
Overall, 21 Jump Street is great fun, a good watch and not to be taken too seriously. Lead by the superb Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, the whole cast is excellent and entertaining throughout. Therefore it’s great to hear that both Jonah and Channing will be back for 21 Jump Street 2, which was announced in January.