Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube
There are several lofty polysyllables of praise we could shower on ’21 Jump Street’, but the phrase that suits it to a tee is a phatte LOL fest. The gags come at you tirelessly, leaving you laughing and gasping for breath, and at one point this reviewer was convinced that she was either going to be shushed or smacked for howling, no hooting, with laughter. That moment never came – everyone else was having just as good of a time.
Morton (Jonah Hill) is the proverbial high school geek with braces and zero social skills, while Greg (Channing Tatum) is the jock who’s stuggling at class. They meet in police academy and become inseperable, helping each other out to make the grade. Their hopes of busting the bad guys Die Hard-style are soon shattered, as they find themselves retrieving frisbees in parks, telling kids off for feeding the ducks and playing hot hands. When they finally do make an arrest, they muck up the reading of the Miranda rights and are reassigned to undercover duty on 21 Jump Street.
Their first assignment is tracking down the supplier of a new synthetic drug that’s resulted in the death of a teenager, by returning to high school as students themselves. And while Morton thinks the assignment will be a breeze since he had no troubling scaling the popularity charts when he was younger, Greg is filled with dread as his high school experience was a nightmare. Seven years after graduation though, things aren’t quite what they expected.
’21 Jump Street’ is a modern day ‘Never Been Kissed’, only with funnier gags and no Drew Barrymore in a feather boa (that memory, the horror). Hill and Tatum share a chemistry that could well land them in several lists of cinema’s greatest couples of all time. To share any of the gags here would be doing you a disservice since we could hardly do any justice to the job done by the lead pair. Notable cameos, drug lords dressed like the cast of ‘Wild Hogs’ and cool kids straight off the sets of OC make for no less of a hilarious supporting cast. While it comes as no surprise that Hill is a fantastic actor given his last performance in ‘Moneyball’, the real treat here is Channing Tatum, who has such a natural flair for comedy, that you wonder just why the heck he was wasting talent like this in fluff like ‘Step Up’ and ‘The Vow’. Also one needn’t worry if you haven’t watched the original TV series that inspired the film. The makers are paying a tribute here; it’s a reboot that will spawn its own cult-like following and the film ends with the delicious promise of a sequel.
There are a few of you out there who might not enjoy the penis jokes, Ice Cube’s hilarious observations on stereotypes and think that Channing Tatum is too much of a pretty boy to carry this role off. Well there’s the door, you weren’t invited to this party anyway. For the rest of you puerile entertainment-seeking folks, drag your IPL fanatic bottoms off that couch and go watch it now.