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21 Jump Street - Review

21 Jump Street

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THIS latest big screen revival of a once popular TV show is deceptively smart in a hilariously stupid kind of way.

Inspired by the Johnny Depp TV series of the same name, 21 Jump Street would appear to be a bog-standard mix of mis-matched cops and high school coming-of-age comedy shenanigans.

But it also boasts a subversive quality that acknowledges this while attempting to offer something a little different, while remaining largely hilarious throughout.

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are Jenko and Schmidt, two former high school foes turned best buddies and cops, who find their lives turned upside down when they’re asked to go undercover in a high school to break up a drugs ring.

Hence, all of the adolescent problems they thought they had left behind come home to roost, only in reverse as geeks have suddenly become the new school cool while the good looking jocks struggle to find their place.

Co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller bring the same kind of irreverent, chaotic comedy style to 21 Jump Street as they did with their animated comedy Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, albeit with a little more of the anarchic adult spirit more commonly associated with Hill’s comedies.

They also benefit from a surprisingly strong central partnership between Hill and Tatum, the latter of whom displays a fine knack for comedic timing and self-deprecation.

Even when things threaten to become a little OTT (as they do on several occasions), the easy-going charm of both Hill and Tatum ensures that you’ll be enjoying yourself in spite of some groan-inducing moments.

And there’s equally strong support, too, from the likes of Ice Cube (brilliant as a typically loud-mouthed boss), newcomer Brie Larson (as a possible love interest) and Dave Franco… as well as a scene-stealing cameo that’s guaranteed to bring the house down.

The film is also nicely split between the gung-ho action and high school comedy elements, gleefully toying with established conventions from both and occasionally delivering a two fingered salute to them completely.

And while it knows where its target audience lies, there is the scope for some broader appeal as well. It’s Superbad meets Bad Boys with a little True Bro-mance thrown in – and for the most part, it’s an absolute blast.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 109mins
UK Release Date: March 16, 2012