5-Word 365 #317 – 21 Jump Street

I’m seriously behind the times on this one. I wish I’d seen it earlier, but it was still worth the wait.

21 Jump Street

Jump! Down on Jump Street!

Originally enemies in high school, Schmidt and Jenko become best friends during their time at the police academy and graduate as partners. After cocking up their first arrest, the pair are assigned to a resurrected program from the eighties, where youthful-looking officers are sent undercover in high schools to investigate crimes involving teenagers. To say things have changed since their day would be putting it mildly. Hilarity ensues.

I know that’s usually sarcastic, but in this case hilarity really does ensue. No beating around the bush here; 21 Jump Street is comedy gold. You’re all probably aware by now, but just in case here’s a brief refresher: 21 Jump Street was originally a series that began in 1987 starring Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise and Holly Robinson (one of my first crushes, by the way. Hi Holly). It ran for five seasons – there must have been a lot of high schools in the area – and was a typically serious show for its time. Each episode ended with the bad guys in custody and a nice moral from Angry Black Captain, before going back and doing the same thing next week. This update is technically a sequel to the series, instead of a dreaded reimagining. And it’s bloody funny.

I want to go to a prom now, just so I can get out of a limo in slow motion with doves.

Written by Michael Bacall (who you may remember as the creepy little Frankenstein dude from a season 2 episode of Buffy, or you may not) from a story by Bacall and Jonah Hill, the flick stars Hill and Channing Tatum as Schmidt and Jenko. These two really are the backbone of the whole film. They are so inherently likeable even while being easily the most useless police officers in the history of the profession that you can’t help but be on their side. The chemistry these two guys have together is the stuff of legend. Underneath all the dick jokes and deliberate cop movie cliches, this is quite possibly the sweetest heterosexual-life-partner love story I’ve ever seen. Hill has described the flick as “Bad Boys meets John Hughes”, and he’s not wrong.

Among the supporting cast, Ice Cube takes over the role of Angry Black Captain, obviously relishing the chance to cut loose after a spate of more family-friendly fare. I don’t know who else could deliver the line “leave Korean Jesus alone” with such flair. Dave Franco and Scott Pilgrim‘s Brie Larson are game for anything as the school dealer and Schmidt’s new girl, respectively. I’ve found Franco’s characters to be a bit too smug and annoying in some of his other appearances, but here he balances that with some spot-on timing and a great line in freaking out. Brie’s character Molly is the type of girl I wish I’d known in high school. Cute, smart and funny, she’s a match for Hill every time she opens her mouth.

The best drill sergeant the Army never had.

21 Jump Street is the first live-action feature from the directing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, helmers of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Superficially those two flicks couldn’t be any more different, but they have the same anarchic tone and freewheeling spirit. Personally, I’m really looking forward to what these guys deliver next.


  1. Mark Walker · November 13, 2012

    I’m really behind the times on this as well Ryan but you seem to echo the opinion of many. I must check it out.

    • Ryan McNeely · November 13, 2012

      You definitely should mate, it’s a blast.

  2. theipc · November 13, 2012

    I couldn’t believe that this was as good and funny as it was. I don’t normally care for Ice Cube’s thing but this was a total crack up (not verbatim): “If any one of my officers gives a teenager alcohol, they’re gonna end up in prison. Tied down. With a funnel in their mouth. And me shittin’ in the funnel.”

  3. CMrok93 · November 15, 2012

    Good review Ryan. Really, really funny movie that just got better as it went along. Also, it helped a bunch that Tatum and Hill had pitch-perfect chemistry and felt like real people, going through real situations, and being real friends. That always helps in movies like this.

  4. mistylayne · November 17, 2012

    I didn’t love it but I was pleasantly surprised. The Johnny Depp cameo totally rocked!

    • Ryan McNeely · November 17, 2012

      Yeah, I started feeling all nostalgic when the old cast turned up

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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