If you’re as tired as I am of all of the remakes coming out today, you probably weren’t looking forward to this weekend’s “21 Jump Street.”
I’m happy to report, however, that it is one of the select few remakes that actually holds water.
Starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, the film is about two young police officers who are recruited to join a high school infiltration unit after a hysterically blown arrest deems them too immature for regular police work.
This is the second directing job for duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller whose only previous film together was the animated “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” (a personal favorite of mine due to its absurdity). These guys know how to handle comedy and it really shows throughout the film.
Speaking of handling comedy, Channing Tatum is given his first comedic role and, in my opinion, outshines all of the other “funny” actors in the film. Not to say that Hill or Ice Cube etc. fall flat, but I found myself laughing more at Tatum than the rest. One particularly funny scene comes when Tatum and Hill are forced to take the drugs they’ve been sent into the school to find. This leads to Hill giving an over the top performance as Peter Pan in drama and Tatum solving an interesting equation in front of an AP chemistry class.
There are lots of laughs to be had in this film and there is a pretty good variety of humor. With most Jonah Hill movies you expect big parties (check), dirty jokes (check) and general awkwardness (check). But the script plays out as a parody of its source material and the film has a lot of fun poking at the fallacies of most cop shows. For example, there is a running gag of whether or not an explosion is going to happen during car chase sequences.
For a guy who doesn’t really like to go see comedies, I laughed like I haven’t since “Bridesmaids.” Although “21 Jump Street” doesn’t really have that film’s originality, it’s a great modern adaptation of the 80’s show that launched Johnny Depp’s career.