In an era of comedy movies dominated by flashy, outrageous parties, wild nights and over-the-top stunts, it is refreshing to have a film that goes back to traditional comedy roots and succeed. 21 Jump Street, set up like a stereotypical buddy, cop routine, features Jonah Hill (Schmidt) and Channing Tatum (Jenko) playing screwed-up police officers who are sent back to high school undercover in order to save their jobs.
21 Jump Street’s real success comes from its own awareness of how “cheesy” it is. Many jokes revolve around poking fun at action-comedy movies. Every joke is on point, and the film keeps you laughing until the end. Hill and Tatum work extremely well together, as they realize that high school isn’t what it used to be. The nerdy and smart Schmidt finds himself getting along with the popular kids, while the formerly popular jock Jenko is an outcast from the beginning. The surprising role reversal brings a lot of humor and awkward situations that mesh spectacularly.
As a Hollywood heartthrob, Tatum never really did much to make me a fan; while his crazy good looks are a hit with the female audience, it was hard to call myself anything close to a supporter. After this movie, however, I can confidently say that I am now a Tatum fan, as his goofy and slightly stupid jock routine worked so well that he often outshined Hill as this film’s comedy star.
The rest of the cast is magnificent and without spoiling anything, 21 Jump Street packs a surprise towards the end that will give you your money’s worth alone. The plot works well as the pace never slows down, which gave me sore face muscles by the end. The bond between the two awful cops becomes a reality as Tatum and Hill really seemed to enjoy making the movie together, which showed on-screen. This comedy duo was a rare perfect combination, and it was great to see a fading style of comedy revamped and done so well. I would recommend 21 Jump Street to any fan of comedy, and I can say confidently that I will be picking it up in July during its expected release on Blu-Ray.