21 Jump Street stars Jonah Hill (the increasingly thin “fat funny man” of Superbad and Knocked Up) alongside Channing Tatum (the chisel-jawed, hunk of meat from Dear John) and provides us with a comedy-action adventure in the guise of two baby-faced rookie cops being sent back to high school in an undercover drugs bust.
Now, there has been occasions where I have sat through so-called comedies with a face mirroring confusion and mild irritation – imagine a horse trying to open a packet of crisps with it’s hooves, imagine that horse wearing glasses as well and you’ve got me. I’ve sat stony-faced, staring at the screen whilst people around me have spat coke through their nostrils and laughed their lungs out on to the cackling punters in front of them. I was worried that 21 Jump Street was going to be a repeat of this.
Thankfully, this wasn’t the case.
The film has a self-awareness and willingness to mock itself that makes the whole experience a lot of fun. Granted, some of the penis-gags are a bit… well a bit in your face, for want of a better expression, and the storyline has barely a single deviation from a bog-standard script let alone anything remotely resembling a full-blown plot twist. Yet, despite these shortcomings, 21 Jump Street knows this and plays on it, parodying itself and mocking its own cliches. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller create something that is markedly different from a simple rehash of an 80s Tv series.
Rob Biggle plays to his strengths as an eccentric nutball of a teacher, whilst Ice Cube appears to play the role of angry black Captain Dickson with apparent ease. One tirade in particular being delivered with all the bombastic and grotesque enthusiasm reminiscent of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Jonah Hill fits easily into the dorky awkward role of Schmidt whilst Channing Tatum effortlessly plays the brainless well-meaning Jenko.
Amongst all the gags, the gagging, the gun-fights, the explosions, the lack of explosions, the sexual innuendo and the vulgarity is a film that sees two unlikely people become friends, experience role reversals and come out of it with a stronger friendship and understanding than when they started.
It’s not going to be taxing your brain but it’s good entertainment and is worth a watch – if only for the surprise cameo appearance near the end of the film.
Out in cinemas everywhere