Title: 21 Jump Street
Directors: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Taytum, Brie Larrson
Release Date: 16th March
There are few things more hilarious than watching an adult who is horrendously out of touch with “the young people” attempting to comprehend their world of unfamiliar and seemingly nonsensical standards. 21 Jump Street is a film that thrives on this concept – and the joke is mastered.
When two underachieving cops, Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Taytum), are sent back to high school to “revive an undercover cop scheme that was founded in the eighties” they flail and flounder accordingly in their efforts to blend in. The task at hand is to find the source of a newly made synthetic drug circling around the school and to bust the drug ring. To keep them in line they regularly report back to their HQ at 21 Jump Street, where Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) monitors their progress and gives periodic ball-busting motivational pep-talks.
Meanwhile, the world of the high school is not as Schmidt and Jenko have left it, nor is it as every teen drama has depicted it for the last ten years. Those of us from the Facebook generation will be immensely grateful for the refreshingly accurate portrayal of our kin in the film. The age-old stereotyping of jocks and nerds of the MTV generation has died a death and the globally-aware, eco-nerds have succeeded them. When the pair return to high school they find themselves completely out of their depth and they make little attempt to hide it.
The brilliantly accurate and amusing observation of how we now live our lives is perhaps the film’s greatest achievement. Watching two older twenty-somethings grapple with our practices of texting and internet memes soon becomes greatly satisfying and by default we are all already ‘in’ on the joke.
In addition to an innately hilarious premise, 21 Jump Street has a beautifully tight script as well as excellent direction. Directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord make their film debut after their collaborative experience in animated comedy and their fresh influence is extremely well-received. Jonah Hill is at his best under their guidance and his performance markedly contrasts many of his comedic contemporaries such as Seth Regan and Russell Brand who have, in recent times, fallen back on their celebrity status in efforts to be entertaining. 21 Jump Street sees an entire cast at their prime, performing a pant-wettingly funny script that doesn’t wane throughout.
In a Nutshell: 21 Jump Street makes the best of a recycled idea by laughing at itself while maintaining originality. Genuinely hilarious and features some superb surprise cameos.