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21 Jump Street

by

Jeff Nelson

21 Jump Street is a hilarious film that isn't anything ground-breaking, but manages to be an entertaining film that confidently grasps the material it has with pride.

21 Jump Street
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In the age of reboots and remakes, no material is safe. No matter how old or how unnecessary the source material is. 21 Jump Street used to be a TV show from the 1980s, and somebody in Hollywood decided to make a motion picture based on it. This isn't exactly a shocker. However, once I heard how the filmmakers would modernize it, I actually became interested in how it might turn out. Once the trailers were released, I wanted to see it in theaters, although I never had the chance to see it. I finally was able to check it out now that it's available for rental on Netflix. With quite a bit of positive buzz spreading about regarding the film, you can be confident in knowing that you should believe such word of mouth.

Two youthful undercover cops work a local high school to investigate a drug ring. However, they find that a lot has changed since their own school days. The film begins by showing us Schmidt and Jenko while they were in high school as teenagers. Schmidt (Jonah Hill) was very intelligent, although was constantly being picked on for being so interested in education. Jenko (Channing Tatum) was the popular jock in high school who didn't care about school or his grades. The movie fast-forwards to present day as they both become policemen and become an interesting team. Jenko is the brawn and Schmidt is the brain. The film incorporates a lot of modern pop culture, such as new cliques in high schools and different attitudes than what used to be in high schools. New things are popular and funny that weren't when Jenko and Schmidt were in high school. The story itself is entertaining and keeps things moving. The jokes are crude and range from chuckle humor to scenes causing uproarious laughter. Some audiences might find some of the humor to be dumb, but if you enjoyed the humor in Judd Apatow-esque flicks, then you should find the humor here funny. The plot is extremely predictable, as most comedies are, although that doesn't mean that the journey itself isn't fun. I haven't seen the original TV show, so I cannot judge based on that. I'm reviewing this movie on its own terms. The screenplay isn't absolute gold, but there are a lot of good laughs to be had.

Speaking of Judd Apatow flicks, 21 Jump Street features one of the actors that made his big break through one of his films. This star is known as Jonah Hill, who performs as Schmidt. He fits the character and delivers quite a few laughs. He still has the same humorous presence that was seen in previous hits, such as Superbad. Channing Tatum hasn't made the best movies throughout his career. However, I'm glad to report that he's been becoming a stronger actor over time. I don't expect him to win any Oscars throughout his career, but he does a fine job at being believable in the roles he portrays. He plays Jenko here and interacts with Hill very well, creating a convincing and hilarious pair of actors. Those who weren't aware that James Franco has a younger brother will be surprised to know that he actually does. I didn't know this before seeing this film. Dave Franco plays Eric Molson, one of the popular teenagers at the school. He plays the part well. I cannot speak of the cast without bringing up Ice Cube, who plays Captain Dickson. He's absolutely hysterical as Schmidt and Jenko's boss.

Visually, the film accomplishes what it set out to do. The movie is polished and has some excellent gags that aid with the humor. The technical portion of this disc is what shines the brightest. The dialogue is loud and clear, as it's never difficult to understand what the actors are saying. The front speakers are constantly pouring out crisp sound, especially during the party sequences. The surround speakers are put to work throughout. The direction of the sound is excellent in order to immerse the audience. One of the most impressive uses of the surrounds is when Schmidt and Jenko get out of the limo at the prom with their group of friends and doves fly out. You're able to hear the small details of wings flapping through the surround speakers. Such detail is always appreciated. 21 Jump Street sports an audio track better than most comedies.

Whether or not you've seen the original TV show, you should check out this film. If you like crude humor, then you should find this to be absolutely hilarious. Despite the fact that this is simply bringing somebody else's material to the big screen, it still manages to feel fresh. The script is decent and has plenty of laughs from start to finish. The actors were well-cast and are convincing in the roles. Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures has done a marvelous job with the blu-ray disc, especially with the audio portion. 21 Jump Street is a hilarious film that isn't anything ground-breaking, but manages to be an entertaining film that confidently grasps the material it has with pride.

My Rating = Four Stars

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