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Not so much a stoner film, probably more the result of movie producers getting high, and talking about old stuff they can’t get out of their minds. It is the feature-length resuscitation of 21 Jump Street, the late-80s TV cop show that introduced a heartbreaking charming Johnny Depp in his breakout role.
It is provided with the unimprovable premise of cops chosen for their youthful appearances to go undercover and crack down on youth crime. This now becomes a defiantly immature action-comedy starring Channing Tatum and a slimline Jonah Hill as Jenko and Schmidt, two appalling police officers who must get down with the kids.
Once being worst enemies in school, they are now cop partners dealt with the humiliation of going back to high school as faux-teens to crack a drug ring. It’s not too much of a stretch. Being adult is the real imposture. But it is at this spot that the former jock and nerd realize that in this environmentally sensitive Obama age, their school status levels have turned out quite different. Jenko bitterly blames it all on Glee.
It’s an interesting twist on teen films and buddy comedies, delivering a postmodern Police Academy, and there’s a wonderfully pointless freeway chase that reaches further back to the world of Smokey and the Bandit. Maybe the Brit patriot in me also finds the huge influence of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – but picturing Frost losing as much weight as Hill is too haunting.
In its outrageous way, 21 Jump Street full movie brings real fun. Jenko has to move in with Schmidt at his mom and dad’s and go through the full terror of the kiddie photos on the wall. (“It’s like I’ve been murdered and this is a shrine to me,” Schmidt whines.)
In high school, they discover that all the major values that once held sway are out of date, and to Jenko’s considerable disappointment, it is timid, plump Schmidt who is now Mr. Popular. Being teenager is more a question of style than either wanted. It’s all relying on maintaining a front. As our two heroes are told by their captain: “Teenage the fuck up!” Perhaps that last word should be “down”.