When the police revive a cancelled 80’s undercover program because “the guys in charge of this stuff lack creativity and are completely out of ideas” a stereotypical angry black captain (Ice Cube) drafts two of the force’s least decorated officers (Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum) and sends them back to high school to stop the supply of a new synthetic drug.
Based on the 80’s television show starring Johnny Depp and Richard Grieco (both of whom make cameo appearances) 21 Jump Street is a funny, if juvenile and ultimately somewhat forgettable, film along the lines of Step Brothers. We’re given two characters who no one, including the audience, is expected to take seriously in a movie that pokes at least as much fun at its concept as it does celebrate its cliched nature. 21 Jump Street isn’t a movie you’re likely to go back to very often, but it works as a cheap rental with its share of laughs (as well as groans).
The buff Jenko (Tatum) and nerdy Schmidt (Hill) find themselves back in high school, but in a world turned upsidedown as the age of the nerd has made Schmidt (originally the friendless nerd) into the more popular of the pair. Tatum and Hill work well together as an unlikely odd couple who are actual friends, at least until Schmidt gets a taste of the high school popularity he always craved.
When the movie stays with the more riduclous nature, such as the pair for no foreseable reason rooming with Schmidt’s parents (Joe Chrest, Caroline Aaron) or throwing a kegger with drugs stolen from the evidence room, it provides its share of laughs. Sadly, the love story between Schmidt and another student (Brie Larson) is more creepy than cute and the two never generate any real on-screen chemistry.
Available on single-disc Blu-ray and DVD extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel, commentary with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and the cast, and four short featurettes including Johnny Depp on set. The Blu-ray also includes an Ultraviolet digital copy of the film.
[Sony Pictures, Blu-ray $35.99 / DVD $30.99]