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21 Jump Street

May 7, 2012

21 Jump Street (2012)
Directors: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Actors: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson

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Synopsis: Two newly recruited police cadets (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are forced to go ‘undercover’ in the local high school to smoke out the dealer of a new hallucinogenic drug.

Review: 21 Jump Street represents much about where Hollywood comedy really is at the moment. It comes at the back-end of a ten year refinement of the Fratpack comedy ‘franchise’, and is also part of the lineage that has seen the high-school flick adapt and become more ‘sophisticated’ since all those pseudo-Shakespeare adaptations, Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Get Over It, in the mid/late-Nineties. Therefore, if you like your comedy proficient and refined then this is for you. It’s an extremely apt and witty dissection of its time, with the once fat and nerdy Jonah Hill swapping places with the jock Channing Tatum in the new high school pecking order, especially since technology, globalism and eco-consciousness have completely altered how coolness and ‘success’ are constituted – a similar theme to David Fincher’s recent The Social Network? If you’re like me though, and you like your comedy a bit more ragged and inspired, then you might be a tad disappointed. The pseudo-postmodernism – exemplified when the police sergeant giving Tatum and Hill their ‘recycled’ mission makes a wannabe ironic comment about everything being franchised and a copy now – speaks less to me of the film’s wit, and more as disingenuous apologism for this film’s own laziness and lack of originality. When the film’s not trying too hard, it can be quite funny. Ice Cube delivers his lines as the clichéd foul-mouthed, badass cop with relish, and there is some good slapstick from Tatum and Hill in places. But in short, this film isn’t perhaps quite as clever as it perceives itself to be…(May 2012)

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