This summer, like most summers, many sequels will be released. Yesterday, this column encouraged viewers to watch "How to Train Your Dragon" in anticipation of "How to Train Your Dragon 2." But if you prefer live-action to animation, take in 2012's "21 Jump Street," which lays the groundwork for this summer's "22 Jump Street." These films are based on the popular television show of the late 80s/early 90s. Unlike the more serious police procedural aired by Fox that launched Johnny Depp into stardom, the movies are comedies.
"21 Jump Street" stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Schmidt and Jenko. As is the case with many buddy films, the pair are not friends at first, but eventually develop into a productive team. In high school, Schmidt was an overweight nerdy guy and Jenko was a far from intellectual handsome jock. Years later, they meet again when they are training at a police academy. They become friends since Schmidt is able to help Jenko get good grades, and Jenko is able to help Schmidt develop a fitness regimen. After graduating from the academy, they become cops at a park. While there, they spot drug dealers and almost bust them. However, because the rookie cops did not read them their Miranda rights preciously, the drug dealers get off. Nonetheless, their boss thinks they are perfect for "21 Jump Street," where young cops pose as high school students. Their first mission is to go into a high school where a new drug has become popular.
"21 Jump Street" features some of the funniest scenes in any film of the last several years. One memorable scene is early in the film when Schmidt and Jenko almost bust the drug dealers in the park.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are perfect in the lead roles. They have great chemistry, and their characters are likeable, despite being coarse and a bit dense. Another strong performance is by Ice Cube, who is very funny as their captain, who is almost always angry. Johnny Depp is also great in a small part, reprising his role from the show.
"21 Jump Street" is an excellent choice for fans of buddy films and youth-oriented comedies.