Sunday 11 March 2012

21 Jump Street review

21 Jump Street (15/R, 109 mins)
Directors: Phill Lord, Chris Miller
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

When we first meet Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) at high school they're a classic nerd and jock pairing. Seven years later they're at the police academy together, where they graduate as a couple of bumbling idiots. Their incompetence gets them a transfer down to Jump Street, an undercover programme that involves the pair of them posing as high school students to infiltrate a drug gang. The TV show from the late 80s that made Johnny Depp into a star has been updated into a nicely self-mocking comedy that doesn’t try to spoof cop movies, or even high school movies. Instead it succeeds by doing its own thing, catching just the right tonal wave of stupid mixed with smart, and riding it for all its worth. Hill has matured into an actor of tremendous range and comic timing, and on this evidence he has the potential to do anything. Just like Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys, Tatum is a revelation, someone not renowned for comedy chops playing it fairly straight and getting results. A couple of plot contrivances in the middle means it takes a bit of a dip, but even this is still able to provide solid laughs in most every scene, something few comedies can lay claim to. Throw in a sensational cameo appearance, and the result is the year’s funniest film so far.

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