21-jump-streetWhere Is Johnny Depp? There is a great deal of humor in this film and most of it is crude, well, actually, beyond crude.  Definitely an adult film.
21 Jump Street
Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Rob Riggle, Ice Cube
Directors: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Scriptwriter: Michael Bacall
Sony Pictures
Rating: R for crude humor, language and violence
Running Length: 110 minutes
Don't expect the movie version of the old television series 21 Jump Street to be just like the series. It is fairly far removed and that is not always bad. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star (co-producers, too) in this movie about two cops who are as inept as possible. Jonah Hill can do physical work while Channing Tatum can do comedy. In fact, Tatum could have a career move ahead of him if he continues this route. The guy has timing.
The story begins about 2004 in high school where Jonah is the intelligent nerd always teased by guys like Channing who is the dumb jock. Fast-forward about seven years and both try out for the police department. On the exam, Jonah gets an “A” while Channing gets an “F”, the same grade he routinely got in high school. They pair up while Channing gets Jonah through body-building, Jonah manages to get Channing in with a “C.” Instead of lets-chase-them cops, they are on bicycle patrol in the park. After managing to catch a drug dealer, but not making it stick because Channing couldn't remember all the Miranda Rights terminology, Ice Cube, their boss, sends them undercover at the high school at 21 Jump Street. They get their assignment at a Korean church used as a front by the police. Someone is dealing drugs (one student has died) and the guys have to pass as teenagers---quite a stretch--they are asked if they take hormones and went through puberty at age seven because they look so old. As you can see, there is a great deal of humor in this film and most of it is crude, well, actually, beyond crude.  Definitely an adult film.
In order to pass as teens, they move into Jonah’s parent’s house (Mom likes Channing) and pretend they are brothers (Channing was adopted.) Jonah makes friends with the elite in school because brains are in and he is a glib talker. Channing finds that his popularity is nowhere in sight and he is with the nerd group, feeling definitely uncomfortable. Jonah is in with the dealers, the local source being Dave Franco (yes, James Franco’s brother and he can act). The guys are getting closer to shutting down this operation, but also have to put up with some bad biker dudes because they keep ramming their bikes with their little car. But, just who is Mr. Big?  Ice Cube is frustrated and his language goes from blue to red hot. All in a day’s work.
This version of 21 Jump Street is actually funny. The first 35 minutes of the movie are finely pulled together with the guys getting to know each other. The rest of the film is like small skits tied in a row leading to Mr. Big. I didn't mind it as the film does not take itself seriously and yes, Johnny Depp has a cameo in the film, but I dare you to find him.
My favorite scenes are when Jonah’s Mom first meets Channing, Channing finds out that chemistry and blowing up things is actually fun (“you do this every day in class?”) and Jonah being cool with the in-group that are environmentally conscious, too. The premise is getting rid of drug dealers so drugs are bad. The guys are forced to take drugs to prove they are not cops and it hits them hard.  What I didn't care for is that this is set in a high school and though binge drinking is not spoken, alcohol is consumed in large quantities at parties, too.
21 Jump Street is a humorous, though slightly over-long film that gives one star a chance at action and another at comedy. In that, they win, they lose by using way too much crude humor.
Copyright 2012 Marie Asner