Monday, April 16, 2012

21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street – 109min – R

In all of movies that look back on TV shows and decide this is a story that needs a movie, 21 Jump Street is the only one that is honest about what type of movie it is. It pokes fun at its own ridiculousness and does it with the all of the style and dignity of a self deprecating comic. It is refreshing to see a movie that delivers on its promises from the trailers. However, this one gave too much away. It shared all of the golden moments trying to get people in the door. This movie is a red light because it just rushes from one trailer moment to another.

We start out with the main characters in actual high school. Schmidt (Jonah Hill) is the typical nerdy kid who is a social outcast and looks like a Vegas Eminem. Jenko (Channing Tatum) is the complete opposite of Schmidt: tall, good looking, fit and popular. They do not get along in school and, like life, after time passes they find they have some things in common. They also learn that they can benefit from each other’s strengths. They become partners at the police academy: Jenko helps Schmidt get in shape and In turn Schmidt helps Jenko study. Together they make one mediocre cop. Their first assignment is park patrol, after botching that they go to a failed undercover unit to blend in with high school students.

Their new Captain is Dickson (Ice Cube) and he is everything that you expect from a stereotype. They handle the new assignment with all of the seriousness and professionalism of Jerry Lewis skit. But they learn that the new pecking order in school has changed. Geek is the new cool. So we have a bit of a role reversal Jenko has no clue how to live in this new universe where up is down and left is right. This film has great role reversals in its story and an interesting statement on how popularity corrupts.

The co-directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, only have a few movies to draw experience from, but from this attempt I have to say they have potential. I think they do a good buddy picture because they have collaborated on a number of films in the past and draw that companionship into their characters. The things that I liked form their work on this picture was the balance between camp and irreverence to the original material without going over the top with the carryover from the TV show. Other TV inspired movies have tried to overdo the campy nature of the dated premises. This movie had a good balance between those elements but was just not very good.

Spoiler Warning!!! You will get an atomic wedgie and stuffed in a locker if you click here!!!!!

Ok, I lied. I have no spoilers for this movie because the trailers have given everything away. There are a few plot points that are not given away but they are not really worth talking about. At best they are cute but not noteworthy.

The best line in the movie is from the first captain that talks about the 21 Jump Street program as something that is dug up because people have no originality and they try to pass of this old #@%& as something new and hope that no one notices. Yep. Sums up this movie and I respect them for not lying to us and themselves in thinking this movie was anything else.

What was the last TV based movie that was made that you liked and why?


BTA Jonathan said...

The best TV show made into a movie? I have to admit; the Addams Family is one of my guilty pleasures. The dance scene between Gomez and Fester is magnificent. I also happen to like the Brady Bunch. I know they're campy but they were cute in their campiness.
Along the same lines is Little Man. I liked the idea more than the actual movie. The midget mobster hiding out on plain sight as a baby in live action?! Just being able to pull that off deserves at least accomplishment.

Wudmeister said...

I went into this movie, and at the rathr unfortunate request of my daughter, with remarkably low expectations... REALLY not expecting much other than low brow stupid silliness. (Smart, witty silliness I can ge into and Yes there IS a difference) Unfortunately for me, the movie completely and totally failed to live up to these expectations. I wish you could have an "Infrared" light... for those movies that they should pay the movie goer to go see...