“21 Jump Street” is funny and fun. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are a worthy combo because of the many contrasts they bring to their pairing. And, because both have good comedy chops.
The characters played by the two were high school classmates: Tatum, the good-looking dumb jock, and Hill, the less attractive smart nerd. When they find themselves classmates at police academy, Hill shares his smarts with Tatum and Tatum helps Hill get fit.
They become teammates on the force, but they make mistakes and are sent to 21 Jump Street. At that address is a Korean Christian church, in which Ice Cube commands cops on undercover assignments. Tatum and Hill are sent out as high school students in an effort to bust a drug ring. (Never mind that they are 30 and 28, respectively, in real life.)
Adding to the absurdity is the mixed-up identity plot device, through which Tatum is assigned to egghead classes and Hill is sent to run on the track team.
When they finally locate the drug connection at school, he will only sell them the tabs if they will ingest the drug right then. The ensuing drug trip provides some goofy fun.
Each has romantic inclinations at school. Hill has eyes for a cute drama club classmate, who he ends up inviting to the prom. Tatum has the hots for his science teacher, played by St. Louis’s Ellie Kemper. The Tatum-Kemper thing merely smolders, until the closing credits. (Do stick around after THE END.)
“21 Jump Street” has three good chase scenes, including the first one with our two rookie cops on bicycles. There’s a fair amount of violence and a heaping helping of R-rated language.
It has been reported for almost a year that a megastar who kicked off his career on the old “21 Jump Street” TV show has a cameo in the movie. Without sharing details, I will just say I love the way the filmmakers presented it.
Could Tatum and Hill have a future together in action comedies? If “21” hits the jackpot, bet on it.