21 Jump Street (2012)

High school sucks.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as young and clueless police officers who go undercover at a high school to investigate a drug ring, effectively giving them the opportunity to relive their student lives all over again.

The idea of remaking an old TV show as a movie doesn’t seem too promising. However, all of those problems were gone as soon as I saw the hilarious Red-Band trailer for this one and then I got to see the actual film itself and it was so much better than I expected.

The whole structure of this flick is pretty simple: put two bros in uncomfortable situations, have them run into a problem, and then have a nice, but action-packed resolution. However, that structure doesn’t go down so easily here considering it doesn’t go for the cheap laughs and isn’t afraid to poke a little fun at itself in the meantime. This is one of the funnier flicks that I have seen in recent time because it has raunch that is deserved, jokes that hit the mark just about every time, and a bit of satire about how high school really is in today’s world which definitely hit a lot closer to home for me and seemed so true. Everything is so much different today from what it used to be and instead of the philosophical, softer kids being the ones you shoved in lockers, they are now all of a sudden the cool kids that find their ways as being hailed at the end of the year as “the one most likely to succeed and be uber cool”. It’s something I see in school today and even though I’m not really trying to complain about it, I just still find it funny that a film that takes place in high school is able to hit the mark so perfectly.

What’s really strange about this flick is that it’s actually from the directing duo of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, aka the guys behind the animated hit ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’. It’s definitely a strange pick-up for these guys to go from kiddie flick about obesity to an R-rated comedy but they somehow are able to make transition work with their strange ideas to keep this flick moving. The film isn’t unpredictable by any means but there is so much here that seems so funny and original, that you wonder exactly why none of this hasn’t been done before and just why it’s so easy for these two dudes to do it and comedy director veterans still can’t hit the right marks. One funny example from this flick is the drug-montage scene they have here. Every flick that has to do with drugs in one way or another all have a weird montage, but this film takes that one step further and makes it so much more funnier than it had any right to be and that’s just one scene. There are so many more like them that made me laugh like crazy.

However (yes, there is always a however), as fresh as this flick may be, it does start to falter by the end as it dives more towards action and loses a bit of its comedic edge. I didn’t mind this as much considering the action is surprisingly very good but everything ends so predictably that it’s a shame considering this flick really had me thinking I was about to see a new and original twist on this type of formula, only I never got that. It also seemed a little strange that Hill’s character starts to get more and more attracted to Brie Larson’s high school character even though she’s a little too young for him. Then again, it could happen so don’t mind me.

The main reason why I was looking forward to this flick in the first place was because of the strange pairing of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and they both deliver in their own little ways. Hill is once again hilarious here (in a slightly less fatter way) and makes it seem like comedy can come to him so easily no matter what the script demands. Then again, a lot of it does start to seem like it’s just improv, which is definitely a lot better for Hill considering he owns that. I was also incredibly happy to see my main man Channing, finally get a role that suited him with his action and comedic skills. Tatum was hilarious in the strange flick, ‘The Dilemma’, and it was great to see him show his comedic skills once again, this time playing up his meat-head look for laughs. Both of these guys play-off of each other perfectly every time they are on-screen together and it was such a blast to see these guys having a blast that I wanted more of them on-screen. So glad these guys were able to nail these roles considering Hollywood has been really finding it hard where to put them lately.

The supporting cast is also great and all play up their own comedic skills to add more to the flick. Ice Cube is funny as the predictable, angry black chief that always seems to be yelling and dropping the F-bomb every time the film focuses on him but he plays that up perfectly and hopefully this will get him back in doing better comedies than ‘Are We There Yet?’; Dave Franco has a funny performance here as the wise-ass high school kid, Eric, and reminded me so much of James Franco that it was too funny to be true; and Rob Riggle has his hilarious moments as the creepy gym teacher that always seems to be effing around with these kids. There’s also a totally memorable cameo at the end of the flick that’s perfect but I don’t want to give anything away because it is definitely something has to be seen to be believed.

Consensus: 21 Jump Street isn’t really doing anything to re-invent the buddy-action comedy wheel, but the chemistry between Hill and Tatum, the rapid fire humor, and the fresh and brutally realistic look at the present-day high school make this a comedy that actually will make you laugh consistently.



  1. “21 Jump Street” has been scoring well with the critics on Rotten Tomato.

    Jonah Hill on Stern last week said his been working on the script for five years, and if people didn’t find it funny he was going to seriously doubt his comedic ability. I’m happy to be reading all the great reviews.

  2. I was actually really surprised to hear that 21 Jump Street is getting such a high ranking everywhere. It makes me happy though! Sounds you were a little surprised as well. I definitely want to see this, especially after a preview having Tatum say something like “Glee is the reason for all these problems,” or something around those lines. It just looks hilarious.

    I’m with you on Tatum in The Dilemma too – I thought he was incredibly hilarious in it and couldn’t stop laughing. Glad to see that he’s getting more opportunity to up his comedic skills on screen. I much prefer that version of Tatum to the Dear John version of him.

    Nice review, Dan! I look forward to seeing this even more now!

    • Definitely hope you like it Kristin because I did and it shows Tatum in top-form, which may not be saying much but it just makes me happy to see him doing so well again. Thanks!

  3. I’ll be skipping this one. Another raunchy comedy from Hollywood. I swear if you don’t find vulgarity or raunch funny (which I don’t), you just out of luck when it comes to modern movie comedies.

    But as always, you write a great review and make a good case for the reasons you like it. It’s just a not a movie for me.

  4. I agree with you. This movie doesn’t re-invent the buddy comedy but it does give a fun, creative comedy that was very enjoyable. Props to Chris Miller and Phil Lord with directing and Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in the two lead roles. Can’t wait to see what more comes out of this directing duo now.

  5. Nice review. I suppose it would appeal more to current high school students in the audience than people out of school. I just thought the plot was a real let-down when I saw it. Definitely funny in place. Probably wouldn’t recommend completely.

  6. I was quite impressed by 21 Jump Street as well. And I’m quite impressed with Channing Tatum, who until now has not really given me a reason to like him. He was pretty good in Haywire, but until now I’ve never really considered him much. I’d like to see the sequel to this, which has already been green-lit.

  7. I enjoyed this as well. It was much funnier, and sweeter, than I was expecting. I thought the end was a little sloppy, but I was so surprised by the rest of the film that I forgave it for not having the best ending. Good review!

  8. You are totally correct, when you cite the chemistry of the two actors, for making this a better movie. I was as surprised as you Dan, that these two actors from different ends of the spectrum could work so well together and consistently hit their comedic and dramatic notes perfectly.

  9. A really good review there, you brought up certain things that I hadn’t even considered when writing mine. Really good job. I know this film doesn’t re-invent the genre much, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more films like this in the future, because it’s rare that we see a comedy that handles itself so well.

  10. Great review. I love when random movies and actors surprise you. I think a lot of people wanted to dislike the movie or hate it for many reasons, but it’s risen above all of that and it turned out to be a hysterically smart action/comedy that has more going for it than just some bathroom humor and drug humor.

  11. I’m liking the review! I agree with pretty much everything. I didn’t realise the directors did Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs!

  12. I am honestly surprised with how many great reviews I’ve been reading about this film! Thanks to them, it’s made it onto my list of films I do think I would like to see in the cinema.

    Just hope it sticks around on the screens for long enough 🙂

  13. Yea, Tatum and Hill have some pretty incredible chemistry with hilarious outcomes. It was so funny I almost want to go watch it again in the theater but I’ll most definitely buy it on blu-ray.

  14. Great review! Glad you noted the relationship between Hill and Larson. I, too, found it odd that he’d fall for a high school student, but then again, it just emphasized how much his character bought into the charade, and how much he wanted it all to be real — since he never had that kind of luck when he was in high school seven years earlier.

  15. Most has been covered in Dan’s review and the comments; all of which add the movie experience. One thing I forgot to mention in my review (check it out) and not mentioned hear is some of the lyrics of the music. Now I’m not a rap fan at all, not of that generation but I darn near did a spit take on the words in a couple of songs – hilarious. Hill, Tatum, Dave Franco et al did a fine job. Loved your review.

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