REVIEW: 21 Jump Street

Fantastic baby
Review by Vives Anunciacion
Published April 23, 2012
Inquirer Libre

21 Jump Street
Directed by Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Based on the late 1980s TV show

How did Channing Tatum become such a bankable star? Who knew Jonah Hill can produce a good comedy? Will Charice change her hair style again? Okay, the last one has nothing to do with this review. Restart.

Ice Cube plays the captain, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play bumbling rookie cops. It works.

I’m paying 21 Jump Street huge compliments when I say that I enjoyed it, unexpectedly. This drug-induced, profanity-ridden (it’s R13!) buddy-cop action comedy makes fun of its TV series origins, runs into clichés and then turns them upside-down. Lots of LOL- ang kulet-moments drown the cheap story, so overall it’s quite satisfying.

Tatum and Hill play Jenko and Schmidt, a jock and a dork, respectively, who unexpectedly become best buddies in Police Academy. The two bumbling rookies are transferred to the Jump Street Division, where they are assigned to investigate and infiltrate a high school drug ring – as high school students. If only Jenko and Schmidt knew what they were getting into.

best comedy tandem of the year

The story is quite thin and some subplots (like the reversal of jock-nerd roles between Jenko and Schmidt and the love angle with Molly, played by Brie Larson) tend to stretch too much. Hill, who lost 40 lbs to be able to do some action scenes in the movie, is acting the same way as he did in Superbad. However, the surprise is Tatum who somehow exudes an air of ease and comfort in doing raunchy comedy. Not only that, he is totally also at ease doing his emotional scenes.

This guy’s last comedy was teen flick She’s the Man, opposite Amanda Bynes. Since then, he’s done Step Up (1 & 2), The Eagle, Dear John, The Vow, GI Joe (1 & 2), Public Enemies and soon, the Steven Soderbergh male-stripper drama based on Tatum’s real life, Magic Mike. Is it too early to declare Tatum a versatile actor?

Acting aside, it’s the post-modern no-holds-barred raunchiness that makes 21 Jump Street a rollicking ride. There is a sense of assuredness whenever Hill and Tatum exchange sex-related banter that the lines never go over-the-top. Or at least, almost. Quite a lot of comedies have come out with sex-related punchlines, but most of them aren’t funny at all. Is it even weirder that the makers of 21 Jump Street are the same directors of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs? Trippy, indeed.

The original series catapulted Depp into teen superstardom. But the show was a bore.

When I say that the film makes fun of its TV series origins, you just have to see it (or ‘them’ – hint, hint) to believe it. 21 Jump Street is just fantastic. Boom shakalaka.


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