Friday, March 16, 2012
21 Jump Street
This new comedy borrows the concept from the original TV show (that launched the career of Johnny Depp) but only in a very broad sense. The film is sophomoric, raunchy, very funny and surprisingly entertaining. What could have been just a lame re-make filled with genital jokes is actually a very smart script constantly making fun of itself and keeping the audience in on the gag. Oh, and lots of genital jokes.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have great chemistry together and going undercover at high school presents all kinds of sub-plots. A bathroom scene where he and Mr. Tatum try to regurgitate drugs they had swallowed had me roaring with laughter. More than just an action comedy, the film is a "bromance" and plays upon role reversals of high school stereotypes. Mr. Hill co-wrote the story but is generous enough to share the spotlight with his cast mates.. Rob Riggle and Ice Cube co-star and both are given ample screen time to provide laughs. Brie Larson provides the love interest and Dave Franco (younger brother of James) rounds out the cast as the ecology minded high school drug dealer.
Give credit to the studio for making a trailer that, for once, doesn't give away ALL the funny parts. There are plenty of verbal and visuals gags that you don't see coming. Chase scenes are constructed in an unconventional way as well as other typical "action" scenes making the film fresh even while it makes fun of it's origin. There is also an unbilled cameo that comes as a pleasant surprise.
The film's rated R for a reason but there is intelligence beyond the raunchy humor and it's an address you'll want to visit. And if you do enjoy it, don't worry...the end practically screams sequel.