21 Jump Street
Directors: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Writers: Michael Bacall (screenplay), Michael Bacall (story)
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube
Synopsis from IMDb.com:
In high school, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) was a dork and Jenko (Channing Tatum) was the popular jock. After graduation, both of them joined the police force and ended up as partners riding bicycles in the city park. Since they are young and look like high school students, they are assigned to an undercover unit to infiltrate a drug ring that is supplying high school students synthetic drugs. Written by Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)
It would be easy to write off this movie as yet another cheesy update on a now irrelevant TV show, but to do so would be a mistake. 21 Jump Street is a surprisingly funny comedy that is immensely watchable and extremely charming.
21 Jump Street follows Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum). Schmidt was a Eminem-looking dork back in his high school days who was saddled with the nickname of Not-So-Slim-Shady, while Jenko was a popular jock who ruled the school. While the two aren't advesaries, they certainly aren't friends either, with Jenko quick to make fun of Schmidt--though not necessarily in an evil bully way.
The two become friends when they both sign up for the police academy a few years after high school and realize that they could help each other out in the areas the other lacks (smarts and brawn). They quickly become good friends and are ecstatic when they graduate the academy. After majorly blowing their first bust, their captain ships them off to an old program that is getting re-booted (because the guys that come up with these things have run out of ideas) and the two find themselves as the newest members of 21 Jump Street, an undercover operation that puts younger-looking police officers in high schools.
Schmidt and Jenko are to portray brothers. Their mission is to find out who the supplier of a deadly new drug is before it makes it out of the contained area of a certain high school. Getting their assigned names mixed-up, Jenko finds himself in AP Chemistry while Schmidt gets the easier schedule full of classes like drama. For the first time in his life, Schmidt finds himself hanging out with the popular crowd, while Schmidt is stuck with the chem nerds.
21 Jump Street is tear-inducingly funny in some scenes. I was laughing so hard during one part that it turned into something else completely (seriously, I don't even understand some of the noises coming out of my mouth) and I was so thankful to be watching the film alone.
This film is truly about friendship and what it means to be a friend both in high school and as an adult. It is a look at how high school has changed in just a few years, with students caring about their environment and being, in general, more tolerant of others' differences. Jenko, unable to understand this new world of high school hilariously blames the show Glee for ruining high school. These granola popular kids are the dealers, of course, with Dave Franco (Jame's younger brother) playing the head huncho. It isn't surprising that the action culminates during prom. With the boys stepping out of the limo in their white tuxes followed by doves.
The film also addresses finding a way to become comfortable in one's own skin. The joy that Schmidt feels after being accepted by the popular crowd is both funny and heartbreaking. The wounds of high school can most definitely linger for years after. I'm not trying to make this film deeper than it is, but it does have a layer of complexity that gives the film a heart that is often missing in these re-booted, slap-stick comedies.
The cast is absolutely pitch perfect, the jokes are funny, and the movie has some real heart. If you haven't seen this little gem already, I highly recommend it.