21 Jump Street is like 2009’s “Get Him to The Greek”, where the popular awareness was not high, but on DVD you really find out what has been missed; Fast, funny, and tongue-in-cheek satire produce a top-notch comedy, featuring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as buddy-cops. Directed by Phil Lord, and Chris Miller, the film constantly is satirizing movies of the 70s and 80s, like Lethal Weapon and Die Hard; cars are expected to dramatically blow up, but don’t; the man in the ambulance says ‘I’ll come back later’ during the dramatic make-up and kiss ending.
The premise is that these two jerk-off cops are going to raid a high-school, the homestead they just escaped. Jonah Hill is still scarred by his loser-charm, and Channing Tatum flowering at the idea, after having an uproarious time in high-school, and locate a new synthetic drug. The cop that assigns the task is played by Ice Cube, in one of the rare roles where he is actually funny. It starts out with Schmidt, (Hill), fearing that his relationship with Jenko (Tatum), will return to the I’m cool-your loser dichotomy it was originally; instead, the new generation of kids finds Schmidt to be the cool one, especially after Tatum punches a gay black boy on the first day of school for no apparent reason, other than he was ‘trying’.
The fake-identities get a little jumbled; Jenko ends up being the chemistry-geek, even though he seems to be really dull, and Schmidt is headed for Drama class, which his unloose personality is not made for. But this leads to Schmidt talking to a girl, who eventually gets in the way of his assignment. They find a supplier of the synthetic drug, Eric, and hope it will lead them to the mother-dealer; Eric takes Schmidt under his wing and trusts him to sell part of the load. Not till the end do we find the supplier, in a scene like the ending of “True Romance”.
The pairing of Tatum and Hill was very well done, and the script also gave them a solid amount of material to work with. It was based on the television show from 1987-1991, by the same name, created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell. It shows excellent talent, I found especially from Jonah Hill, who is glowing with the glee of popularity in high-school. It even has a cameo from Johnny Depp. Hilarious and warmhearted, 21 Jump Street is the best surprise comedy-film of 2012.