Today: April 13, 2024

21 Jump Street

It’s nice to see Channing Tatum misbehaving.

It’s nice to see Channing
Tatum misbehaving.
Cussing, messing about and being generally irresponsible
is not a path yet trodden by the broody GI Joe, but running headfirst into a
giant cymbal whilst high on hallucinogenics he could not seem more at home.
Tatum makes up half of the buddy/cop partnership in 21 Jump Street opposite an ever-reliable Jonah Hill. Together they are sent back to high school to
infiltrate a drug ring and make the first big arrest of their careers. Growing
up at opposite ends of the high school food chain the lads are now the best of
buds; Hill’s Schmidt using his head and Tatum’s Jenko his brawn to enforce the
law in their underwhelmingly quiet neighbourhood.

 

Nothing about the concept of this film is original, the name
and basic premise coming from the 80s TV show that put Johnny Depp on the map and the comedy of the brothers in blue gig
all but exhausted from Hot Fuzz to The Other Guys over the passing years. With
Michael Becall who penned Scott Pilgrim (we’ll ignore he also
wrote Project X) behind the script
there is a youthful step in the genre, and Tatum and Hill have the right faces
for the force. Hill is not on unfamiliar turf here as a bumbling swearing reject
who maintains a level of empathy whilst being thoroughly ridiculed by all that
know him. It’s Tatum that brings a streak of joy to Jump Street, proving he’s
more than a ridiculously well-built man and can in fact raise a chuckle as well
as a lady’s heartbeat.

 

When the boys turn up at school they find that the jocks
have been replaced with environmentally aware idiots (mainly a very watchable Dave Franco) with whom Schmidt has an
actual shot of falling in with, leaving Jenko to get his geek on with the
science ilk. Naturally the
pressures of popularity take their toll on the brotherhood, botching up the job
and eventually forcing them to pull together for a chance of redemption. Again,
this sort of story is perhaps overly familiar but it’s pleasing to watch none
the less. The humour is obvious; the stumbling monologues that have moulded
Hill’s reputation as an actor, a lashing of penis jokes and a throng of dumb
stunts. The supporting cast make brief appearances but are great; Ellie Kemper’s aroused teacher, Ice Cube’s shouty senior officer and Rob Riggle’s horrible teacher are fleetingly funny additions.

 

The final chapter of Jump Street has all the makings of a
biting cop film but with Becall’s giggly script woven through the mayhem,
sacrificing sincerity perhaps but making Schmidt and Jenko all the more
likeable for it. Some gags are over-spun and the gay jokes could have done with
being scrapped altogether, but otherwise this is genuinely funny stuff with the
sort of silly but sturdy brotherhood that Project
X
desperately lacked.

 

It also boasts some pretty stylised sequences; the drug
taking scenes as well as the end credits have a great headache-inducing feeling
about them that stops the overall sense of the film being too clean and smooth.
What Lord and Miller have managed to achieve here is a comfortable comedy that
doesn’t feel worn out and Tatum has a massive hand in this. Had a more
experienced comedic name slotted into Jenko’s bulky shoes the familiar may have
taken over but with this guy you can see that he’s really enjoying himself and
the results are contagious.

 

 

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

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