The new faces of 21 Jump Street

Reporter: Kris Cuaresma

When it was announced that a remake of the 1980s TV series 21 Jump Street was being put into production, fans of the show were excited at the premise of a big screen adaptation. The series often carried a serious tone that was directed towards a younger audience and also helped established Johnny Depp’s young career. However, when it was revealed that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum would be the leads, whatever excitement was built vanished.
The backlash was similar to that of Heath Ledger being given the role as The Joker for The Dark Knight. That decision ultimately worked out for the Batman franchise. So did 21 Jump Street benefit from their controversial choices as well?
Thankfully, the answer is yes.
The main reason why the film works so well is because it keeps the core of what the old series was about – a group of younger looking officers being placed undercover in high schools and colleges – without taking itself too seriously. 21 Jump Street isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself and the genre it represents with jokes about remaking old content and selling it to people again as something new, and frequently pointing out how Tatum looks too old to be in high school.
The script and the direction also put Hill and Tatum in the best position to succeed within the movie’s concept. Hill – who is often in crude and over-the-top films – is placed in his comfort zone throughout most of the movie, but is also asked at
times to display his more serious acting chops like he did in the film Moneyball. As a result, Hill takes the forefront of the story and succeeds in carrying the film.
But what truly makes 21 Jump Street what it is, was Tatum’s surprising natural comedic talents. Fans of Tatum – and those who are not – will get a chance to see him in an entirely different light as he shows off his comedic timing and delivery. It’s Tatum’s performance that helps make believable the fact that his and Hill’s characters can be best friends.
On that note, the film is prone to the same faults found in over-the-top comedies. The plot is predictable and a few of the jokes are recycled throughout the film. Fans of the original series may also be turned off from the opposite direction the movie was taken. Fortunately, 21 Jump Street’s laugh-a-minute approach and certain cameo appearances do a fair job of remedying any possible criticisms while providing nostalgia.
If you’re looking for a movie that will deliver constant laughs and make you feel younger than you really are, then 21 Jump Street is a must see.
With the expectation that it may not entirely replicate the series it is based on and that it doesn’t boast a foolproof plot, audiences will walk away feeling 21 Jump Street is one of the best comedies of 2012 so far.