'21 Jump Street' not stellar but pretty darn funny

'21 Jump Street' not stellar but pretty darn funny

Steve Salles, Standard-Examiner movie critic - March 16th, 2012
3 stars

For a big, dumb comedy, “21 Jump Street” has a lot more humor than I expected — albeit most of it on the bawdy, bad-boy side.

Yes, I am a bit embarrassed that I laughed as much as I did, but if you don’t mind a little hot sauce on your comic frittata, I think you’ll get a kick out of it as well.

Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are two chucklehead acquaintances from high school who find themselves teaming up five years later at the police academy.

Jenko has the physical agility that Schmidt lacks and Schmidt has the intelligence that Jenko needs to pass the written exams, so they agree to help each other.

They both long for the thrills and power of law enforcement, but when they’re assigned as bike patrol officers at a neighborhood park, they feel fairly deflated.

They’re basically playground monitors, until a gang of pot-smoking bikers cruise into their territory, giving our boys in blue a chance to be real cops.

Let’s just say that it goes badly for them, and based on their apparent lack of maturity and their youthful looks, they’re sent to a special unit that infiltrates high schools by pretending to be students.

Capt. Dickson (Ice Cube) runs the division with an iron fist and without much compassion. He’s that angry-cop captain you see in every crime movie, but he’s still hilarious.

So, Schmidt and Jenko go undercover as brothers Doug and Brad. They move into Schmidt’s parents’ house and start attending a nearby high school, looking to crack down on a synthetic drug ring.

Jenko gets confused and claims to be the one who’s the math wiz, which means Schmidt must assume the role of the super jock. You can see where this is going, and it’s pretty darn funny.

However, Schmidt surprisingly thrives with the cool kids (which is foreign to his previous experience), while Jenko (who was prom king in his previous life) is now left to the dungeons of the nerdery, but begins to appreciate their particular gifts (especially learning how to blow up stuff in chemistry class).

Now I realize this is broad comedy, much like the reinvention of “Starsky & Hutch” back in 2004 with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, but some proper respect is shown, a handful of cameos are thrown in and Tatum and Hill make an unlikely but likable comedic pair.

So check out “21 Jump Street” if you dare. It’s certainly not “Hangover” nasty, which is a relief, but it’s not kid-friendly “Puss in Boots,” either.

 

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