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21 Jump Street, very clever and funny

Paul Peterson

It’s been a good year for Jonah Hill. Actually, it’s been a good seven years. He started writing while he was in drama school in New York. He made friends with Dustin Hoffman’s kids who just happened to be in his class, and Dustin took a liking to him and had him make prank calls to Dustin’s famous friends. DeNiro, Pacino, et all fell prey to Jonah’s voices and bizarre premises. If you think about it, there’s a tremendous amount of writing that goes into a crank phone call and acting as well. Hoffman got Hill his first role on I Heart Huckabees and it’s been full tilt ever since. He writes and acts and I’m sure will be directing soon and he can get projects made.
Amazing what an Academy Award nomination can do.
He’s also talented and very, very funny as Schmidt in 21 Jump Street. He’s quickly becoming an everyman for the nerd herd, except he’s getting cooler with each incarnation.
Schmidt and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are partners in crime fighting. They were friends at the academy, helping each other out with athletics and book learnin’. You figure out which area of expertise is attached to which.
So, they’re bike cops in a park who blow a big drug bust by not reading the bad guys their Miranda rights, so they get demoted even more, and are sent back to high school.
Their job is to infiltrate a drug ring that’s brought in a new drug. For now it’s contained to the high school but of course it’s about to spread.
There’s some confusion and role reversal and a lot of references to male appendages, and the overall effect is a very funny movie.
While the 21 Jump Street concept is a rebirth of the original Fox TV show, it’s all original with a very creative script by Michael Bacall and you guessed it, Jonah Hill.
The supporting cast is brilliant with strong performances by Rob Riggle as the coach with a whole other sideline. Dude goes John Wayne Bobbit at the end and if there’s a funny way to handle that they pull it off.
Ellie Kemper, from the office, is always interesting and she plays Jenkos’ chemistry teacher with equal parts lust and contempt.
It’s a very funny side plot.
The film is well written and very, very clever. There’s an interesting role reversal as Hill’s character is now fashionable, being all green and thoughtful and wanting to help. Apparently caring is cool.
There are brilliant one and done cameos from the original series Johnny Depp and Peter DeLouise.
An unfair comment on this film would be that you may have enjoyed it the first time it came out and was called The Other Guys. It did remind me of that but this film is funnier and refreshing enough to stand on its own.
It’s crude humour but on the PG level, unlike Project X which some of the players here were part of.
I really liked 21 Jump Street. I went in expecting nothing and got a lot more than I bargained for.
It’s a rare comedy that breaks 100 million without Adam Sandler in it, but this is a rare comedy.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: Arts & CultureNews from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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