By Matthew Dougherty, Staff Writer
21 Jump Street is far better than any other remake of a ’80′s buddy cop show. Partially because it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is sharply aware of the mistakes that past efforts have made. Partially because of the great chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
The movie follows to cops who are finding their job rather boring. After a series of events, they end up undercover in a high school trying to stop a major new drug from breaking out. The plot is simple, but the way these two transitions back to high school is pretty hysterical. This is largely due to the fact that 21 Jump Street jumps on today’s high school clichÃ©s, rather than yesterday’s. The “cool kids” care about the environment, the nerds are jail-breaking smart phones, and naturally there are hipsters. This movie is aware of the times its in and uses them to its advantage, rather than falling back on the old stereotypes of high school. Is it always believable that Tatum’s character hangs out with the nerds? No, but its a fun role reversal done in a unique way, and that is enough to show that there is some serious intelligence behind 21 Jump Street.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum appear to be having a lot of fun with the material and make for the ultimate duo in buddy cop comedy history. Also hysterical is Ice Cube, as their extremely angry boss. The film also gets to showcase the talents of the charming David Franco, who is every bit as charismatic as his brother James. Finally, fans of the show will enjoy some very special cameos in the third act.
21 Jump Street mainly succeeds because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has a lot of truly funny moments and is smart enough to do away with the clichÃ©s of high school past, replacing them with high school present. The two stars work wonderfully together, making for a charming, although ridiculous, movie.