“21 Jump Street” is a poor attempt at remaking the popular ’80s TV series into a humorous, modern action comedy.
Former high school loner Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and once popular athlete Jenko (Channing
Tatum) decide to leave their high school lives behind and join the police force. After helping one another pass police academy, they are sent out on the town for park control. The team fails to make a successful first arrest, and this forces them to become part of the undercover Jump Street unit.
Schmidt and Jenko are sent into a high school, posed as brothers, to investigate a dangerous new drug that has invaded the school. With their identities swapped, Schmidt is now the cool kid while Jenko is the nerd.
The team has to track down the dealers and suppliers, but they are faced with the angst filled trials and tribulations of high school all over again. Love interests and being cool prove to be major hurdles the two must overcome to bring down the drug ring and the dealers involved.
Crude, immature humor is the movie’s only way of obtaining laughs. Each joke is one that has been recycled from movies like “Superbad” and “The Hangover,” that have all been heard time and time again. A love interest between Schmidt, who is 25, and Brie (Molly Tracey), who is underage, only added to the distastefulness of the action comedy.
The film’s only savior is Tatum’s performance. His usual role of macho warrior or macho romantic man is completely forgotten as Tatum’s transformation into the popular-guy-turned-nerd proves that comedy is one of his strong suits. His level of comfort is visible in his performance.
A cameo from Johnny Depp, who played in the TV series, comes at a time when it is least expected. James Franco’s younger brother, Dave Franco, has the small role of playing the cool, environmentalist drug dealer.
“21 Jump Street” is an action comedy that is trying too hard and relying too much on dirty jokes that have been told too many times to count.
It is rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence.