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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Hill, Tatum keep laughs going in successful remake of ’80s show 21 Jump Street

By Mario Montalvo/ne news editor

21 Jump Street may seem like a run-of-the-mill Hollywood reboot of an antiquated 1980s TV show, but it delivers heavily on laughs and is surprisingly well done.

The original TV series was a crime drama focused on a group of baby-faced police officers sent undercover to investigate crimes in high schools and colleges. Aside from the name, that’s all the new movie borrows from the TV series.

In the remake, Jonah Hill plays Schmidt, a smart, socially awkward guy not in the best shape. Channing Tatum plays Jenko, a street-smart former high school jock and Schmidt’s partner.

The movie opens with a brief flashback to Schmidt and Jenko’s high school years when Jenko relentlessly bullies Schmidt. The film then fast forwards several years later when the two reunite in the police academy and put their differences aside to help one another. Jenko helps Schmidt train for the physical portion of his test, and Schmidt helps Jenko study for the written portion of his test. During this time, a long-lasting bromance is formed.

They are assigned to bike patrol and soon get reassigned after they botch their first arrest by forgetting to read the suspect his Miranda rights. They’re asked to report to 21 Jump Street, an abandoned Korean church complete with a Korean Jesus statue, that serves as the headquarters of an undercover police unit investigating crimes in high schools.

They’re given new identities as brothers and sent back to the high school from which they graduated to find the dealer and supplier of a new designer drug that has already claimed the life of one high school student. They move in with Schmidt’s parents to make their cover more believable.

The two struggle to find their place in the high school scene. Things that were cool to them in high school aren’t anymore. Muscle cars have been replaced by hybrids, and everything that was nerdy is now cool. Jenko struggles more than Schmidt to get used to the new dynamic.

To add insult to injury, the two accidentally swap identities, and Jenko struggles in advanced placement classes meant for Schmidt. Meanwhile, Schmidt makes friends with the popular crowd and develops a crush on Molly (Brie Larson), an 18-year-old senior who happens to be dating Eric (Dave Franco), dealer of the designer drug they’re investigating.

Many of the laughs in the movie come from their identity swap and their struggle to keep from blowing their cover. Also many jokes make fun of Tatum appearing too old to be in high school.

The humor doesn’t rely heavily on sex jokes or potty humor. It’s smart and sharp, and Hill’s timing is spot on as usual. Tatum seems like a strange choice opposite Hill, but the two make it work. Tatum’s character is likable, but Hill definitely carries the movie.

There’s not much negative about the film. Tatum is not the best actor, but he obviously hasn’t made it this far in Hollywood from acting talents alone.

As far as old TV show remakes of go, this is one of the few success stories. It’s classic situational and physical comedy. If you like Hill’s flavor of witty humor and you liked Superbad, this movie will have you rolling in the aisles. If you don’t, you probably won’t enjoy this movie … as much.

 

Final take: A fun, smart comedy and a good example of what a comedy remake should be.

Those who would enjoy it: Fans of Hill, fans of Superbad, any girl (or guy) who enjoys staring at Channing Tatum for an hour and a half.

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