Movie Review: 21 Jump Street [MA15+]

Director : Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Starring : Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Brie Larson, Ellie Kemper
Running Time : 109 minutes
Release Date : In Cinemas Now

‘The only thing getting blown tonight is their cover.’

Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill) went to high school together. They were not friends because Jenko was the cool but dumb jock and Schmidt was the awkward but smart dork. Fast forward a few years and they find themselves in the police academy together. They become best friends and partners but after a bungled bust (Jenko is too dumb to remember the Miranda rights by heart and Schmidt freezes every time he points a gun at someone) they are almost ousted from the police force.

They are saved from their fate for one reason…..they both look like teenagers. They are transferred to a rehashed from the 80’s unit called 47 Jump Street. No…..that doesn’t sound right. It’s 21 Jump Street.


This is not a remake of the 80’s TV series that launched the career of Johnny Depp. But watch for the Depp cameo, stunningly ironic as Depp was desperate to get out of his contract and ditch 21 Jump Street for a ‘serious’ acting career all those years ago. But who cares. He was smoking hot then and he is smoking hot now. I mean, does he ever age?? There are a few more familiar faces from the TV series days. Don’t go and look it up, that will spoil the fun.

Once Jenko, Schmidt and the other new recruits are introduced to the unit by their Captain (Ice Cube) and the omnipresent Korean Jesus, they are given their first assignment. They are shown a You Tube clip of a teenage kid high on some kind of drug. The video is hilarious even though I know, as a responsible adult, I should not be laughing. Jenko finds the video as hilarious as I did and this does not sit well with the Captain. Eventually, they are despatched to the school to find out who is supplying kids with the drug.


Within minutes of their arrival at the high school, it is apparent to our undercover cops that things have changed since they graduated. The current crop of cool kids are green, calm, grown up, smart. Jenko’s over the top jock is not as charming as he remembers. Uh oh. The witty, clever Schmidt seems to be making a much more positive impact with the kids. Double uh oh. Could we see a role reversal? Is geek chic still cool? A mix up in the Head Master’s office ensures this will be the case. Oh this is going to be so much fun!

Schmidt strikes up a friendship with a fellow drama student, the perky and oh-so-modern-woman Molly (Larson) who is having a very hip friend with benefits relationship with the school cool kat Eric (Franco). Jenko, on the other hand, is thrust into the world of chemistry classes and uber geek hacker types. His chemistry teacher (Bridesmaid’s Kemper) openly lusts after him and he mocks his chemistry classmates until he finds out some of the stuff they can do is very, very useful and very, very cool.

This movie is full of laughs. It has a few crude grab for attention gags which you will feel bad for laughing even harder at. But it is also smart and clever with witty, zinger dialogue to match. As I mentioned before, the high on drugs scenes, complete with flashing LSD trip types of footage, is hysterically funny. I know I should not be laughing but I just can’t help it. It’s just funny. It is.


There is also one of the funnest car chase scenes ever. The explosion gag (you will understand when you see the movie) permeates the whole thing and when the punch line is finally delivered, you see it coming but it’s so fast that you are almost angry with yourself for not seeing it first.

The movie has it’s lulls but when it revs up again and returns to form, all is forgiven. And the whole thing moves at a cracking pace. Tatum is perfectly cast as the tall, gorgeous, police uniform wearing, dumb but kind hearted cop. Did I mention the police uniform? Pay particular attention to when they graduate the police academy. Okay sorry.

Hill is also perfect as a smart but slightly awkward cop who tries his best but can still manage to screw it all up. When the pair stay with Schmidt’s parents while they are undercover, we gain some insight into his awkwardness. His parents are a delight and share some great moments with ‘the boys’.

I loved this movie. I laughed and then I laughed some more. Now, can everybody quote the Miranda rights. You know you know them.

You have the right to remain silent…..

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