Dear God, It’s Still Hilarious – 21 Jump Street (2012)

SO good.  Based on the hit show from the 80’s, this is about a pair of undercover cops (Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill) who pose as high school students so as to bust an undercover drug ring.  All they have to do is infiltrate the dealers and find the supplier, so it should be pretty simple, right?  I’m just going to come out and say it: this is my favorite comedy movie series of all time.  Plenty of comedies are great for one-offs, but when they return to try and recapture the original magic, there is always stumbling and faltering.  There is Ghostbusters, there is Men in Black, and for brevity’s sake, there is simply too many to list in this review.  This series is the exception to the rule.  These movies are hilarious and so expertly put together, I just have an absolute blast watching them, even upon multiple viewings.

1This is no easy feat for a comedy, where so much relies on the element of surprise.

This is from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who are quite frankly a comedy force to be reckoned with.  They have made my favorite animated movie of all time in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, these two Jump Street gems, and the wonderful Lego Movie.  I will follow them for whatever project they are attached to, their work really is that outstanding.  The way this is laid out is ingenious, and who better than Ron Swanson himself as the police chief to look straight into the camera and tell you that Hollywood is out of original ideas, but we are still going for it, all the while still having it make sense within the context of the film.  The film is smart like that, and if you were just expecting this to be a standard comedy, you will be floored.  I like how the roles get reversed and how the cool kid in high school is now the outcast and I love how this film also addresses that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum look like grown-ass men playing high schoolers, another trope that has run rampant in the movie industry for decades now.

2It would be awkward NOT to mention it.

I can pop this or its sequel in at any point and have a great time every time I watch this.  It is jam packed with jokes in typical Lord/Miller fashion, and it moves so fast, it is over before you know it.  The writing is stellar, and there are nuances to the jokes that you can’t fully appreciate until take the time to have multiple viewings.  The flow is fantastic, and any improvised bit works with tremendous chemistry.  I can’t recommend this movie enough, it’s brilliant.

21 Jump Street (2012) *****

– Critic for Hire


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