Movie Review: 21 Jump Street (****)

Movie Review: 21 Jump Street (****)

21 JUMP STREET

Genre: Action Comedy

Premise: Two cops (Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum) have to infiltrate high school in order to nab a student-led drug dealing ring.

Behind-the-Scenes: Loosely based on the hit '80s television show, which is probably best known for making a star of Johnny Depp.  Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) direct, making their live-action debut.

The Good: This is an immensely likeable comedy that succeeds in large part due to the chemistry between its leads.   It takes what could have been an uninspired remake of an '80s show nobody remembers, and mines the material for all its comedic worth.  The deconstruction of action comedy cliches and astute observations about today's high school students make this a much smarter movie than it might initially appear.  Hill (who also came up with the story) is on a real roll right now, delivering one unexpectedly good performance after another in a string of hits.  Tatum, however, steals the show.  Who knew he had these kinds of comedic chops?  He sort of hinted at them in last year's The Dilemma, but he definitively proves here that he's one funny dude.

The Bad:  Not really bad, but the movie needed about 1-2 more major belly laughs in order to be an instant classic.  Instead, it has to settle for being just a really good comedy.  The action gets a bit gratuitous toward the end, with one character's penis being shot off for no good reason.

Should You See It?:  Yes.  Audiences should report to 21 Jump Street on the double.  It's the best time I've had at the movies so far this year.

Rating: **** out of 5 stars.

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