21 Jump Street | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

21 Jump Street

Comic homage just about saves this re-boot of the cops-pose-as-teens TV show


Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover policemen posing as high schoolers, in this comic re-boot of the popular 1980s TV series, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. In many respects, it's the same raucous, R-rated comedy you see every other week at the multiplex: nonstop profanity, sex chatter, boozing and drugging, and a certain laziness of purpose. Sure, a character in the film offers a meta-comment about remaking stuff from the past because there are no new ideas left, but even the film's self-awareness of its creative lameness can't completely excuse it.

That said, if your tastes run toward this sort of comedy, this is a superior iteration of it, and you should get some laughs. Hill plays his usual role of clueless shlub (though at a considerably lower weight), and Tatum proves he can do silly comedy. The story has some fun inverting expectations, whether about action films or the clique-ish roles people play in high school. Fans of the TV series might or might not appreciate the send-up, but they will be rewarded by some cameo appearances from some 21 Jump Street OGs.

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