21 Jumpstreet: Comedic remake proves its loyalty to original

2012 has been filled with box office breakers so far and 21 Jump Street is no exception. This movie is loosely based off of the 80’s television show that jump-started Johnny Depp’s entertainment career. The one major difference is that this movie is a comedy, not a drama like the TV show. The trailer for the film gave me high hopes for an amusing comedy and I was not disappointed in the slightest.

This R-rated comedy is a raunchy look at high school through the eyes of two less-than-perfect cops, played by the lovable duo of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. After completing their police officer training they have high hopes of car chases, drug busts, and bringing justice to hardened criminals. Instead, they end up patrolling a park on bicycles.

After an unprofessional arrest they are sent to a former chapel on 21 Jump Street, now the headquarters for an undercover program with baby-faced cops infiltrating local high schools to bring down crime rings within the schools. The socially awkward Schmidt (Hill) redeems himself when he ties in with the popular crowd, while former jock Jenko (Tatum) feels inexperienced with the modern teenager. Instead, he’s forced to shake hands with the scrawny science nerds.

Their program is headed up by Captain Dickson, played by the always entertaining Ice Cube. In fact, many familiar faces filled the halls in this film. You may recognize Dave Franco from Scrubs or Fright Night but his high-maintenance character was front and center during the film. Nick Offerman and Ellie Kemper, both currently starring in NBC comedies, lend a hand in giving the film peculiar characters. Jake M. Johnson, from Fox’s New Girl, gives a convincing performance as a young, concerned but blunt principal. Furthermore, characters from the original TV shows make brief appearances, including Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson Peete, and Peter DeLuise. I felt like this cast, who all has backgrounds with comedic work, enhanced the film with their experience and timing.

It was not only consistently entertaining but nearly every scene had the entire theatre laughing out loud.  The language is ripe, but nothing less should be expected from an R-rated movie geared towards the younger crowd. This movie was truly entertaining through and through. It is filled with tongue-in-cheek stereotypes but the characters make references to these themselves. Tatum’s dramatic acting may be questionable but he truly excels in comedy, proved further by his older films like She’s the Man and The Dilemma. Jonah Hill got his start in comedy (Superbad anyone?) but has recently established his talent in more serious work as well. The acting overall was solid and not a moment was cheesy. The script was supreme and accurately portrayed the language of a high schooler. The criticisms of opinionated movie-watchers are clearly confronted in the actual script. Think Hill and Tatum are too old to play high schoolers? Well they make a joke about that. Thinking about racial stereotypes or the unoriginality ofHollywood? Well, there’s a joke in there about those too.

This movie is a hilarious whirl of two former high schoolers working to prove their competency but what’s best is that the characters are developed enough for the audience to care for them. It may seem like this movie might be a miss – another teen high school comedy – but it exceeded my expectations.