21 Jump Street goes where no movie of its kind has gone before. The gore is subtle, but cumulatively higher than one would expect in a comedy. There is a The Other Guys meets Saved by the Bell meets Strange Wildernessfeel to the film, which garners laughs by combining awkward dialogue with dark, and twisted comedy and topical humour.
Satirising the concept of the stereotypical social hierarchy of high school, Jonah Hill plays “Schmidt,” the stereotypical loser, smart, badly dressed and unworthy of the presence of the popular kids. “Jenko,” played by Channing Tatum, represents the polar opposite, the archetypal all-American, handsome jock who can woo girls with ease but as far as intelligence, is as low on the scale as some former presidents of wide renown. The two realize their differences early on and formulate a mutually beneficial friendship, which of course builds throughout the film and heavily contributes to the plotline.
The film did not go with the usual re-creation of the original series, rather it opted to go the route of building on the initial premise. The movie is a lot less family oriented than the TV series and was rated R for very good reason, keep this in mind when considering whether or not you should bring your children. There is heavily featured drug use, gore, violence, foul language and nudity toward the end– Well, kind of.
The cameos also took an unexpected turn, the original characters did not show up at the end or play security guards, as is the norm. Rather, their role was incredibly original, albeit it the cause of ambivalence in some viewers. The movie also contained substantial subtext, from examination of the role of “good people,” in society, to hate crimes, to friendship, social roles and the ups and downs of society’s self-inflicted caste system.
Ultimately, “21 Jump Street” is easily digestible and contains good portions of action without giving too much away at the beginning. However, like many easy to watch movies, it is very dumb. This movie is not deep. It is not Casablanca. 21 Jump Street is not a thinker for the most part, it is like a Judd Apatow or Adam Sandler movie, the educated viewer will watch it, laugh, gasp and walk away saying, “that is messed up.”