21 Jump Street Review

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21 Jump Street PosterPartners in the the narcotics department head back to high school to catch drug dealers in a big screen farce of 21 Jump Street.

One way I can tell that a film isn’t all that interesting is when I take the time to see it, take notes about it and then entirely forget to post a review of it. That never bodes well for a movie. Granted this particular movie was compromised, in part, on a busy schedule and limited options at accessible theaters. That said, I expected more.

It’s yet another in a long line of homages to previous TV shows. Apparently that well is beginning to run a bit dry as we’re now down to parodying 21 Jump Street. For those who may not remember the show it’s most famous for being the vehicle that launched Johnny Depp‘s career. I never saw it so I was only vaguely aware of the plot. Basically it involved sending some baby-faced cops undercover as teens to help break up youth crime.

The movie version stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum with a nice assist from Ice Cube. Tatum is a fairly new face that I’d not seen before but I also couldn’t believe his name was genuine. It sounds like a name someone would pick that doesn’t remember the 70’s and popular Hollywood celebrities Stockard Channing and Tatum O’Neal. Turns out it is his real name. Go figure. No matter as he’s pretty forgettable here but with a name like that you’re bound to keep thinking you know him every time he does pop up.

I must also mention that one of my favorite parts of the movie involves a bit of an homage within an homage as the high school where much of the action takes place is called Sagan High — clearly in support of late astronomer Carl Sagan of whom I’ve been a life-long fan.

The oddest thing about the film is that I laughed out loud often and reliably and yet, despite the fun, I didn’t walk away with a positive feeling about it. This is mainly due to a horrendous script. It just isn’t interesting or believable. You don’t care about anyone in it and the supporting roles feel entirely pasted on.

Several of the original cast members, including Depp, return again playing the same characters except 25 years older of course. Seems none of them have gotten very far in their careers. I’m left to wonder if perhaps the same fate might befall the people most responsible for this mess.

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