I have to admit, I never watched the television series back in the late 80’s, so I had no reference in which to compare this silly buddy/action flick. So going into it, I had no preconceived notion of what it SHOULD be, and that is a good thing, I think. But what I thought it would be was a silly buddy comedy that would showcase Jonah Hill’s comedic talents instead turned out to be a highlight film for Channing Tatum. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Schmidt (Hill) & Jenko (Tatum) have known each other since high school. Jenko was the popular jock, Schmidt was the nerdy loser. After school, they both sign up for the police academy where, in a likely turn of events, they become friends. Schmidt helps Jenko get through the academy testing (he’s as dumb as a box of rocks apparently) and Jenko helps Schmidt get into shape for the rigorous physical challenges of the academy. Together they form a bond and end up on park duty together. In one of the funnier scenes in the movie, they take on a group of bikers that are pushing drugs and end up getting sent to 21 Jump Street, the address of an undercover operation that puts younger looking policemen & women into high schools to break up wrongdoings such as drug dealing and sexual predators.
Needless to say, putting 2 underachievers BACK into high school after an extended period of time has many comedic opportunities, especially when so many things have changed. Both of our heroes find themselves once again challenged with popularity issues (there’s a switcheroo over who is the more popular), modern era changes (backpacks using 1 strap or 2?) and college prep courses. As with all buddy films, their friendship is tested more than once but in the end, will they still be friends and grow from their experiences on 21 Jump Street? Well…you’ll have to watch the movie to find out! But I’m thinking you know the answer to that one.
This film is, for the most part, likable enough. There’s nothing about it that makes me want to see it again and there’s not really a lot to say about it. It’s a buddy comedy that has a couple hysterical scenes, a strong opening 45 minutes or so followed by a slower 2nd half that seems to always bog down movies like this. When it needs to get moving on the comedy side (with the exception of Ice Cube, who plays the captain at Jump Street, who is hysterical throughout), it shifts into a more standard action film and never really succeeds. Despite the strong showing by Hill and Tatum, it’s the script that finally stops the show and as hard as the 2 leads work it, this little comedy never fully reaches the potential it sets up for itself earlier in the movie. I’d say rent it on a slow movie night…
Overall Rating: C