Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Well wasn’t that a pleasant surprise. When the word came down the pike that they were remaking that old Fox show ‘21 Jump Street’ we know you all fell to your knees, thrust your fist towards the Lord above and yelled ‘Noooooo!!!!’ just like Superman and stuff. Then you heard, not only were they going to remake a show that wasn’t all the great to begin with, but now they’re going to transform this dramatic TV show into a stupid comedy… starring Channing Tatum no less. Now we here at the FCU have nothing less but mad love for Channing Tatum, but there are those out there… not us… who think the young man can’t act. A lick. But guess what? It was funny. It was really funny. And stupid and clever all at the same time. That’s outstanding.

Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are a couple of fresh graduates from the police academy and best friends. Sure, they had their issues in high school, Schmidt being an overweight nerd and Jenko being the insensitive jock type, but in the academy circumstance forced them to lean on each other. Schmidt helping Jenko with that troublesome bookwork and Jenko dragging Schmidt through the tasking physical part. Still, the rookies are kind of crappy as regular cops, but fortunately for them the police department is dusting off an old 80’s program, mainly because they can’t think of anything new or original to do, that needs cops who look somewhat young even if they are crappy.

So our cops head down to 21 Jump Street to meet with their Angry Black Captain (Ice Cube) and learn they are going back to high school to stop a new designer drug that’s killing kids. So with their new identities, Schmidt as Brad the smart geek and Jenko as his brother Doug the popular jock, it time to go back to high school. Simple enough.

But not so fast my friends. Even though these young men aren’t too far removed from high school themselves, there is an apparent generation gap within the same generation. Everything has changed now. Things that used to be scorned upon, like studying hard, driving a muscle car, being gay, caring about the environment and playing acoustic guitar out of the blue... things that would’ve almost guaranteed you a sound asskicking back in my day, is now okay.  Even preferred.

Regardless of the hilarity and hijinks that are bound to follow, our cops have a job to do. Turns out the top dealer is eco-minded, Berkley bound Eric Molson (Dave Franco) and his crew of cool sensitive kids. Since Schmidt is considered cool to this new gen, he’s joined their crew and even made the acquaintance of the kind of pretty girl that wouldn’t have given him the time of day back in his high school years, in Molly (Brie Lawson). Even though she’s a high school chick. She did throw out the fact that she was eighteen which I guess clears the way for high school chick love. I guess. Jenko has found himself stuck with AP Chemistry geeks. Somehow our cops need to get to the source of this new designer drug. Exploding chickens will ensue.  It's complicated.

As challenging as it may be to believe, this movie directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, is embedded with genius. Though I still don’t know how dual directors on set works out. It would be like some woman having two husbands. But back to genius part, while I’m a good fifteen years older than the age that Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are supposed to be in this movie, it is still setup so I can completely relate to their characters, comedically speaking, being thrust back in high school. And my high school age son, who always double straps his book bag and is also in AP Chemistry, was all into how these incredibly soft these teenagers were presented in this movie. As a side note, while I would give my life for my child, watching this movie made me realize that, tragically, that I’d be kicking his ass were we in high school together, and sadly we would not have been friends.

Then there’s Channing Tatum. One of the blurbs I heard was the surprise at how comically gifted Mr. Tatum was in this movie, but slow down a minute. I don’t know if you saw ‘The Dilemma, which was awful by the way, but he was the only thing that was halfway funny in that alleged comedy so we weren’t that surprised at all.

At its heart ’21 Jump Street’ is a wacky, tasteless, raunchy high school comedy in the ‘Porkys’ vein or ‘American Pie’ and as such it brings the jokes constantly from almost all the degrees on the radius and naturally not all of the jokes hit their mark but most do. Plus these jokes loosely follow the ‘Simpsons’ model, meaning that that are really stupid jokes in this movie so that really stupid people can laugh and then there are more sophisticated, higher level, more clever jokes in this movie so really smart people can laugh too. I didn’t get those jokes.

Now if ‘Jump Street’ has a failing it would be the last ten or so minutes, despite some choice cameos, when it turns into an action movie. The problem being that neither of our directors are really all that great at shooting action. In retrospect, instead of going ‘Lethal Weapon’ with their action they probably should’ve slanted it more towards ‘The Naked Gun’. Just keep it stupid.

But whatever… ’21 Jump Street’ was a comedic revelation. Funniest movie I’ve seen this year.

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