21 Slump Street

March 19, 2012, 10:53 p.m. | By Mimi Verdonk | 9 years, 10 months ago

Mediocrity in plot brings down an otherwise solid film

The struggle to be cool, prom asking anxiety and a couple of wild parties make "21 Jump Street" the same as any other teenage movie: overdone. Throw in two undercover cops plus a car chase or two and the movie might have a little something going for it. Still, "21 Jump Street" doesn't live up to the hype, as it is predictable from start to finish, although humorous enough to keep you watching.

The movie starts off with an awkward, blond haired version of Jonah Hill's character Morton Schmidt, who is appropriately nicknamed the "not so Slim Shady," asking the most popular girl in high school to prom. The dumb, but popular and athletic, Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) snickers in the background as Schmidt gets rejected. Flash forward seven years later and not only are both men are training to become police officers, but all high school cliques aside, the two become best friends.

Their first real assignment is to dress as high schoolers and take down the supplier of a new drug that killed a student. Morton finds himself hanging out with the school's "cool" crowd of vegan, Prius driving hipsters, while Jenko works his way in with the nerdier crowd, in a role reversal from their actual days of high school, as they try to find the source of the drug.

The plot of "21 Jump Street" followed a backwards and uneven tempo. The most important and detailed scenes were rushed through, while unnecessary car chases were drawn out and overdone. Aside from modernization of the "cool" kids being eco-friendly, the plot relied heavily on stereotypes that have been done before.

Despite a weak storyline, the hilarious acting and script are what made the movie watchable. Hill and Tatum's jokes induce fits of laughter and at points even tears. Though the humor is suggestive and lewd, the inappropriateness just makes everything funnier. Add in the angry sarcasm of Ice Cube (playing Captain Dickson) plus a cameo by Johnny Depp and even the most humorless of viewers will chuckle. But if humor isn't the way to keep you watching, Channing Tatum and Dave Franco (Eric), give movie goers plenty to look at.

In terms of the movie's production, "21 Jump Street " lacks the special effects that seem to be commonplace in Hollywood today, but it ends up working in the movie's favor. In fact, even a few jokes are made about the movie's lack of explosions. The simplicity of the movies post-production work means that a lot more of the movie's success lies on the actors, who seem to come through in the end.

And yet, Jonah Hill can only tell jokes for so long before you realize the plot is moving nowhere. Though "21 Jump Street" has its moments, save your money for now. Wait until it's on DVD to add this typical teenage movie to your repertoire.

"21 Jump Street" (109 minutes) is rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence. Now playing in theaters everywhere.

Tags: Channing Tatum 21 Jump Street Ice Cube Johnny Depp Jonah Hill

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