This Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill throwback is way more fun than it should be in high-def....
Sony / 110 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: June 26, 2012
On paper, the 2012 reboot of 21 Jump Street appears nightmarish, like yet another extinct Hollywood property getting the Frankenstein treatment from Hollywood (in lieu of actually coming up with something unique). But there's a reason this Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill comedy raked in as much many as it did earlier this year (almost $200 million worldwide) - 21 Jump Street is sweet, dopey fun across the board.
It's cheeky, but not so much that its winking pop culture whimsy becomes groan-inducing, and even as a super-postmodern affair, the film is somehow able to have a certain organic quality that enlivens what might have been just another movie-within-a-movie meta perspective. 21 Jump Street isn't perhaps all that accomplished of a movie as far as line-by-line aesthetic quality is concerned, but the movie delivers on the goofy irreverence it promises with wonderful frequency.
We all know how the song goes: Greg (Tatum) and Morton (Hill) weren't exactly perfect specimens in high school - Greg was the dumb-shit jock, Morton the creepy nerd with a heart of gold - but their talents within the police department send them back that way: these two are so undernourished in their police department that the only case they seem even somewhat qualified for is an undercover job that sends them both back to a high school in order to track down a drug called HFS that is making the rounds.
21 Jump Street's self-deprecating charms absolutely outweigh its well-worn narrative familiarity. Like last year's Take Me Home Tonight, there are retro charms to be mined here, but there's more to the program than 80s-nostalgia retread: 21 Jump Street doesn't aim particularly high as a film, but it nevertheless accomplishes its noble intention of delivering laughs, a surprisingly sturdy cop story, and a double-jolt of charisma from its leads that make it all but hilariously irresistible.