Rookie cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are assigned to go undercover at a local High School to bust an up and coming narcotics rings. Letís hope they donít screw it up.
Hereís what I wrote about this film back in March of this year:
ďThe only thing you need to know about this cinematic remake of the 1980ís television favorite 21 Jump Street is that itís funny. Plot? Who cares. Acting? Doesnít particularly matter. Continuity? Narrative structure? Character development? None of it rears its head, and for the life of me while I canít believe Iím admitting this in all honesty none of it actually needs to. The movie is a surprisingly clever, often hilarious, consistently amusing frolic that plays a bit like a Laurel and Hardy or Marx Brothers comedy only with a seriously R-rated bent.
Okay, Iím not saying this skit-like spectacular, co-written by star Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall (Project X, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), is on the same plane as something like Buck Privates or Duck Soup; those comparisons arenít remotely part of the conversation. But At the Circus? Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man? This movie could in many ways be the profane second cousin to these old Hollywood comedic frolics, and while taken as a whole Iíd have to admit 21 Jump Street is somewhat lacking when analyzed in bits and pieces itís hard to dispute the fact that the darn thing made me laugh start to finish.
Hill and costar Channing Tatum are Schmidt and Jenko, two rookie cops who were on opposite sides of the fence in High School but have somehow managed to forge a friendship while they made their way through the police academy. When a routine bust goes spectacularly awry, the two find themselves reassigned to a secretive undercover unit led by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). Their assignment? Head back to High School and figure out who is behind an outbreak of a new designer drug. The consequence? Old habits and insecurities reemerge, a trip back to their teenage roots potentially putting Schmidt and Jenkoís brotherly bond at risk.
Like I said, forget about the plot. The truth of the matter is that no one involved is particularly concerned with it so why as a viewer should I be? Whatís fun here is watching the byplay between Hill and Tatum, seeing how they smoothly interact with one another and the way they effortlessly tap into each otherís psyches. They are so in tune, so in tandem, you get the feeling theyíve been doing this sort of thing for years, each playing straight man or fall guy at any respective moment based solely on the needs of the gag or on what can propel the movie forward better.
Iíve got to say, Tatum continues to surprise me. Forget about appearing in movies like Fighting or G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. This guy isnít an action star, at least not in my book, he just doesnít seem like heís interested in any of that tough guy bravado. But put him in something like this? Like a romantic charmer like The Vow? Like his debut dance-a-thon Step Up? Do that and the guy is virtually impossible to dislike. Heck, he even supplied the otherwise moderately dreadful The Dilemma with its only redeeming moments, the guyís comedic timing so spot-on it kind of blows my mind.
The frustrating part of trying to review 21 Jump Street is that I canít talk about any of the best bits without ruining them, but thatís just par for the course for any comedy that relies so much upon sight gags, pratfalls and imbecilic shenanigans like this one does. All the same, I can say that Iím not all that sure it will play as well the second time around as it does the first, or that the action-filled finale has too much bombast and not enough bang, or that a romantic subplot revolving around Hill and female lead Brie Larson rings frustratingly flat. Those are items that keep this remake/riff/reinvention from achieving its full potential, all flaws Iím almost certain will annoy me far more in the future than for whatever reason they do right now.
That right now is all thatís immediately important, though, and by and large 21 Jump Street proves to be arguably 2012ís first major surprise success. Judging from the trailers, the early buzz and everything else Iíd managed to hear about this production this was one movie I wasnít close to looking forward to. Now, part of me kind of canít wait to get a look at it again to see if the gags do indeed hold up, to witness if the not-all-that-surprising cameo at the end still knocks my socks off. Bottom line? Hill, Bacall, Lord and Miller get far more right than they do wrong, and the fact Iím still chuckling thinking about the film a full week after seeing it says far more than any 1000-word review ever could.Ē
This movie just gets better and better the more I think about it, the more I mull many of its lines over and my head and, best of all, the more I watch it. 21 Jump Street doesnít just hold up the second time around, it gets, like Iíve already said, better, that fact alone making it beyond easy to recommend and a movie I hesitate to say might be worthy of a purchase sight-unseen.
21 Jump Street is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.40:1/1080p transfer.
21 Jump Street comes to Blu-ray in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 along with French, Spanish and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and includes a bevy of subtitle options.
Extras here include:
∑ Audio Commentary with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, co-writer/actor Jonah Hill and actor Channing Tatum Ė Great, if over-stuffed commentary track with everyone so happy to talk (and talk and talk and talk and talk) a lot of what theyíre saying gets lost amidst some of the noise.
∑ Deleted Scenes (29:32) Ė Lots of material, much of it great, but itís easy to see why all of it was excised.
∑ Gag Reel (4:58) Ė Gag reels usually suck, but when a movie is this funny itís almost shocking when the subsequent gag reel is quite this horrible. Stay away.
∑ Cube-O-Rama (1:53) Ė Two minutes of Ice Cube, however, is borderline hysterical.
∑ Back to School (7:43) Ė The changing face of High School as seen by the cast and crew.
∑ Brothers in Arms (6:24) Ė More with Hill and Tatum. Amusing, if not exactly essential.
∑ Johnny Depp on Set (4:42) Ė No actual Depp, but instead the cast and crew waxing poetic about what it was like to have him around.
∑ The Rob Riggle Show (9:24) Ė Ten minutes of praise for Rob Riggle. Does he deserve it? No. Still, not a bad way to spend ten minutes.
∑ Peter Pan on the Freeway (4:12) Ė More from the freeway chase. Okay, if totally unnecessary as featurette additions go.
21 Jump Street is the best comedy of the year (as of right now, at least). It gets better and better the more I watch it. Sonyís Blu-ray presentation is immaculate, and I couldnít give it a higher recommendation if I tried.