It takes a while for the film to find its feet humor wise with a slow beginning and mix bagged jokes centred around how unglamorous it is being a fresh out of the academy officer and some dick jokes. But it hits its stride mid-way once Schmidt and Jenko are fully immersed in their reverse high school persona’s.
Most of the film’s best humor is split between self knowing jokes that pokes fun at itself, such as it being a “revival from some canceled program from the 80s” (winky smiley) and Tatum being barely passable as a high school teen; whilst the other laughs come from comparing outdated concepts of coolness and teen stereotypes of old. I personally enjoyed the coolness of wearing my rucksack on one strap as opposed to “two-strapping” in my childhood and remember what it was like, pre-mobile, to call someone only for your mom to start dialing the phone from another line; and yes Glee seems to be the blame for this warped multifaceted constantly Internet connected teen. There are some gross out moments as well, with the highlight being Schmidt and Jenko trying to force each others gag reflex to get rid of some drugs they just consumed. I’m usually not one of these kind of cheap jokes, but it sucker-punched me in the humor gut.
The head of the drugs ring Dave Franco is not some maladjusted bully with apparent problems, but is a popular student and environmentalist who is not concerned with getting in touch with his emotional side. Though the relationship that Hill forms with him is incredibly dubious, it does make a change from the usual generic movie bad guy and provides the stepping stone for Schmidt’s achievements for the audience to get behind.
The film’s strength is that is fully aware of the ridiculousness of the situation and constantly enjoys poking fun at itself. I enjoyed the relationship between Schmidt and Jenko and the structure of the plot moves along with ease not really drifting too much from the main objective. It is somewhat a jumble of different hit or miss comedy styles although this is somewhat expected coming from directing team Phil Lord & Chris Miller of ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’, but in comparison to the trailer the best jokes are definitely saved for the big screen and may be worth a repeat viewing.
Reviewer: Dexter Kong (@dexterk)
Release Date UK: 20/4/2012
Directed By: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Dave Franco, Brie Larson, Ice Cube, Ellie Kemper
21 JUMP STREET – GREEN BAND OFFICIAL TRAILER – AT CINEMAS MARCH 16th Published via LongTail.tv
If you want to do your homework on the original 21 Jump Street, check out this very serious PSA they did on drugs. Yes, it is not a joke.