21 Jump Street

Directed By: Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ellie Kemper, Rob Riggle, and Ice Cube

With the lack of creativity that's been raging in Hollywood in recent years, studios have been bringing many classic television shows to the big screen.  Just look at films like Bewitched, Charlie's Angels, and Get Smart.  All of these movies are attempts to replicate the magic of the past, and this rarely works.  In actuality, the studios should have been trying to make their own magic and retell beloved stories in their own, modern ways.  After countless adaptations, I can finally say that we have a movie in which the filmmakers do their own thing and don't limit themselves by what worked in the past.  We have this in Phil Lord and Chris Miller's 21 Jump Street.

It's 2005.  Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) are on opposite sides of the social scene at their high school.  Schmidt is a nerd, and the uber-popular jock Jenko has no problem letting him know that.  Fast forward seven years to the present, and we find Schmidt and Jenko at the police academy.  They both soon realize that they need to rely on one another to get through the academy and become friends.  They graduate from the academy and then become partners on the police force as well.

In their first arrest, Schmidt and Jenko forget to read their perpetrator his Miranda rights.  Because of this, he’s subsequently released from custody.  After this screw-up, their superior (Nick Offerman) transfers the duo to 21 Jump Street, a recently revitalized undercover program from the 80s.  Led by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), young-looking cops in the program infiltrate schools by pretending to be students.  Schmidt and Jenko are tasked with going undercover as brothers Brad and Doug McQuaid to take down a drug ring at a local high school.  As they return to a world they left behind years ago, they find the tables have turned.  Now Schmidt is the popular one, and that slowly eats away at Jenko.

I came into 21 Jump Street with pretty low expectations.  From the moment Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" hit though, I knew I was in for a good movie.  Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller made a serious effort to distinguish the movie from the television show.  The film is raunchy.  It’s modern.  It’s hilarious.  I applaud the directors for not trying to replicate the 80s magic of Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson Peete, and Peter DeLuise.  Lord and Miller put their own spin on 21 Jump Street, and it works quite well.

As Schmidt and Jenko, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum bring their A game.  They develop some great comedic chemistry on screen and deliver big laughs throughout the film.  Hill is in his element as Schmidt.  He channels his inner-Seth from Superbad.  Tatum also does extremely well as Jenko.  He's surprisingly entertaining as a struggling dumb brute.  That's a big statement coming from me because I'm definitely not Channing Tatum's biggest cheerleader.  Because of these two stars and their strong supporting cast, I laughed so hard during this movie and even shed a few tears.

I can’t lie.  I am really surprised that I enjoyed 21 Jump Street so much.  I expected crap.  In actuality, it's a nice raunchy modernization of an 80s classic that does not disappoint.  Have some wine coolers during this one.  21 Jump Street gets a 0.03% rating.