Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: 21 Jump Street (2012), dir. Phil Lord & Chris Miller

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie, as opposed to the upcoming podcast episode, which will contain spoilers and an in-depth discussion of this movie

Good movies can be good for many reasons. Sometimes they connect with a part of your soul; sometimes they pull you in with compelling dramatic tension and wonderful characters; sometimes all they need to do is be very entertaining. 21 Jump Street satisfies that last requirement.

21 Jump Street isn’t concerned with giving us anything more than an entertaining trip to the movie theater, and it thankfully gives us lots of great gags and jokes to keep us entertained for the 100 minute runtime.

Officers Schmidt and Jenko are barely out of the police academy before screwing up a potential arrest and embarrassing themselves. In order to get them out of the way, they are transferred to a formerly defunct undercover division. They are given false identities as brothers and are sent to the high school they used to attend in order to infiltrate a drug ring and find the supplier. And never mind that in real life there would still be teachers and staff working there who would recognize them from seven years ago; that doesn’t matter.

What matters is how funny this movie is. It makes it humor off of subverting stereotypes, or even playing them for all they’re worth, or just having action set-pieces which are so ridiculous, you have no choice to laugh. One of the finest moments is when physics and chemistry seem as if they will follow movie logic, to our main character’s bewilderment. Then, after two times of following real-world laws of science, 21 Jump Street suddenly adheres to movie science to an exaggerated degree, leaving our main characters to express even further bewilderment.

21 Jump Street is not the best movie of the year so far, but it was certainly the most fun.



  1. Hill and Tatum are great together here and add a lot to this film’s comedy but it’s just the way it is all written that makes it even richer. It’s making fun of those high school comedy conventions but at the same time, is inventing it’s own as it goes on. Great review. Give mine a look when you can.

    1. Thanks! I've checked out your review of this (and some other movies). You've got a better way with words than I.

      I was impressed with 21 Jump Street and await the sequel eagerly.