Tuesday, 20 March 2012

184, 21 Jump Street

Back in 1987, 21 Jump Street was an American TV show that ran until 1991 starring Johnny Depp and a team of young, undercover cops specialising in youth crime, predominantly posing as school kids.  Skip forward 25 years and this movie re-make has gracefully stayed completely true to the original in a way that makes it a privilege to be reincarnated, rather than a cringe worthy attempt to re-kindle an old classic.

What makes this movie 'do-over' stand out from the rest is its immediate and repetitive jibes at itself, even with a line by Channing Tatum stating "its just another ploy to re-do old programs" or something to that effect, but when you actually get into it the pairing of a noticeably thin Jonah Hill and the normally wooden Channing Tatum bouncing off each other like squash balls in a wooden box it becomes a complete joy to behold.

Okay, so maybe that's a bit too gushy for a comedy but from the immediate outset we are identified with stereotypical genres and characters that defined High Schools since at least the late 80's.  The cool jocks and the nerdy geeks are easily recognisable in Hill and Tatum and the 'Eminem' likeness is quite spooky! But our unlikely BFF's, although despising each other through School end up on the same police academy training and using each other talents, form a pretty solid bond that's almost too realistic but in no way creepy or dull. 

When our two slightly deluded cops are bounced to Jump Street to work undercover in the newly re-formed division of high school infiltrators its Ice Cube in his most stereotypical role to date that acts and commander and chief and the immediate expectation of them reprising their own high school lives is all but guaranteed until our heroes discover that the high school kids of today aren't womanising meat heads but 'cool' stands for eco-diesel and 'Save the Planet' while the geeks are blowing up stuff and hacking phones - all of a sudden, a normally shy and retiring Hill becomes "Too Cool for School" and Channing's normally Witty one liners and hit first, speak later attitude is seen as an embarrassment to modern living so roles are spun on their head and its Hill who turns player while Channing has to settle for science class and both are hilariously thrown into unfamiliar territory.

The plot is a simple one, detect and investigate an in-house drug circle and bring down the suppliers and dealers but that does seem to take a total back seat to the laugh out loud humour presented to us by Hill and Channing in what for me, is there combined best efforts to date (although the sitter was pretty good as well).

Alongside our too 'wannabe' super cops though there are some other great characters to keep an eye out for like Channings Science teacher who takes an instant 'over friendly' liking to him and the slightly odd romance between Hill and one of his class mates could be determined as slightly creepy, him being a fully grown adult n'all but it seems to go by the by. 

The laugh out loud moments are pretty much all handled by Hill and Channing which for me, opened up a side to Tatum I'd not seen before.  He's done Romance, Action (if you can call GI-Joe action?) and now comedy - I am not sure where he's aiming for - jack of all trades, master of none? But for me this was a stand out performance and although still a little wooden, seemed to adapt well.  

I could quite easily script out every scene, every moment that made me chuckle and quite happily watch this over  again but that would spoil the fun so do yourself a favour and pop along yourself.  Keep a look out at the end for a brilliantly executed nod to the 1987 original and if like me you are looking for a movie to renew your faith in cinema after John Carter almost took away my will to live then this will get your comedic juices well and truly flowing.