“21 Jump Street” review

-Mitchel Clow

Many critics would state that heartthrob Channing Tatum couldn’t act his way out of a box. However, I have always stood by his acting abilities. Ironically enough, when he both co-produces and stars in a tv comedy re-vamp with slapstick-veteran Jonah Hill, everyone goes up in arms about Tatum’s “perfect comedic timing”. It wasn’t bad-but it was just passable.

Tatum and Hill co-star as wanna-be big time cops, forced to pose as high school students in an attempt to find the dealers of a new dangerous drug. As any looking at the duo might have guessed, Tatum plays the dreamy, dumb as a rock Jenko, while lovable, chubby and sincere Hill plays the lackluster Schmidt. Typecasting at its finest. But hey, if you can’t beat ‘em…

From the expected drug-induced hallucination sequences, to the charming boy-meets-girl instances, expect this film to play out like any iteration of American Pie. In an attempt to “defy expectations,” the thick Jenko teams up with the techno-science nerds, leaving pudgy Schmidt to plot point his way over to the cool, drug-dealing kids.

The film tries to make its mark against other big time Mean Girls esque ventures by truthfully sticking to modern cliques and social movements. Jenko used to be a bully, so he naturally throws gay slurs at the high-schoolers in an attempt to look the part. Little did he know that eco-friendly homosexuals are all the rage at suburban drug-ridden public schools.

The writing is the highlight of the movie, making Hill and Tatum simply the vessels through which jokes are to be delivered. The two have an undeniable, dumb-luck kind of chemistry, but neither is eccentric enough to pull of large-scale gags. Ice Cube continues to embarrass himself with another meaningless shouting dictator role. At least there wasn’t too much of him.

The modern details are nice, and I did chuckle to myself during some of the Peter Pan runs. Wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but one I’d suggest seeing it for yourself, if you’re into slightly intelligent slapstick comedies.

**/***** (2 out of five stars)

Rated: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence

Running time: 109 minutes (1 hour and 49 minutes)

Released: March 16th 2012

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