Monday, October 09, 2017

"21 Jump Street" and "22 Jump Street": one-paragraph review

The movies "21 Jump Street" (2012) and "22 Jump Street" (2014) star Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as former high-school enemies who become friends when they both decide to join the police force. Because they're still fairly young-looking, they get assigned to the Jump Street project, which involves going undercover and investigating schools where newfangled drugs have suddenly appeared (the guys infiltrate a high school in "21" and a university in "22"). Rapper Ice Cube plays the cops' perennially angry captain in both films, and the movies smuggle in some cameos by the original stars of the "21 Jump Street" TV series, including Johnny Depp, Peter DeLouise, and Richard Grieco. Both movies are throwbacks to 80s-style teen comedies, with a strong dash of stoner comedy in the mix. The sequel isn't as good or as funny as the original, but I appreciated the nudge-wink self-conscious humor of both scripts, which made it clear that the writers were well aware they were rebooting an old series for mainly cynical reasons. Hill and Tatum make for a good comic pairing, and while neither movie is particularly groundbreaking in its ideas, the scriptwriters do attempt to transcend, at least a little, the typical jock/nerd dichotomy that fueled so much 80s-era teen comedy. Both "Jump Street" films are slightly smarter than you'd expect them to be, and the action moves along at a healthy clip. Another bonus is the addition of wait-do-I-know-that-guy stars to the cast: Dave Franco—brother of James Franco—appears in "21," and Wyatt Russell—son of Kurt Russell—has a major role in "22." All in all, this wasn't a bad way to spend 221 minutes. I was thoroughly entertained, if not exactly enlightened.

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