The Movie Waffler New Release Review - 21 Jump Street | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - 21 Jump Street

Directed by: Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Nick Offerman, Johnny Depp, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ellie Kemper

Tatum is a comic revelation in this latest repackaging of a forgotten TV show.
There was a lot riding against the chances of me enjoying this. It's a remake, it's got two directors, it's a comedy with Jonah Hill. Enjoy it I did though as it features enough clever touches to compensate for the obligatory dick jokes.
The movie's best tactic is self deprecation, constantly mocking the fact that it's a remake of a show that was already a joke by the end of it's run. When police chief Offerman orders misfit cops Hill and Tatum to report to the titular address for their undercover assignment, he states "The people in charge have no original ideas, they just recycle stuff from twenty years ago and hope nobody notices." In this case I suspect a lot of younger viewers would have no clue this was based on an eighties show. Leaving the auditorium I heard one young lady profess confusion as to why Depp makes a cameo.
If you're not familiar with the concept, the show was a kind of teen version of "Miami Vice", ridiculously sending twenty-something cops undercover in high schools to bust drug rings. This remake follows the same idea but gives it a clever comic twist, turning it into a satire on contemporary political correctness. Hill is terrified at the thought of returning to High School as he was the class nerd of his own school. He finds things have changed though and in an age where kids are more interested in Facebook than football he becomes an instant hero. Tatum, who in his teens had been the most popular jock at school has a much worse time and is mocked for being dumb and insensitive. He's the real comic star of this, making you grin every time you see his dumb but charming face.
Most action comedies pay little service to the action side but here we get car chases and gunfights where characters are actually killed. In this way it recalls eighties buddy cop movies like Walter Hill's "48 Hours".
A college set sequel is hinted at in the climax so I guess we can expect "22 Jump Street" in a couple of years. I can't imagine there's much material left over though as this scrapes the barrel dry and is probably about fifteen minutes too long but it will raise more chuckles than you would expect from a modern Hollywood comedy.