Wednesday, 5 September 2012

21 Jump Street

Meet two very unusual in real life, but so common in the movies, friends: Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum). One is stereotypical nerd with no personal life whatsoever, and the other is…well, Channing Tatum. They become a pair of misfortunate cops, and their last chance to prove themselves is to participate in the undercover operation: they go back to high school to try to bust the drug-dealing ring.

To say that the preview sounds slightly unpromising is to underestimate the cause. We have seen it so many times in so many bad comedies: two good friends going back to school for some reason, with mandatory tear-squeezing moments of absolute reconciliation of everyone and everything. So yet another comedy about again same things did not give me any excitement of anticipation.

However, the authors managed to impress me. They chose the right way to approach it all: they made up hundreds of jokes, and they just shoot them at audience at such a pace, that you simply do not have time to reflect on the bad sides of the movie. From jokes about Korean Jesus to the two cops try jumping over the moving car, only for seconds later to witness how different the school is now, and then not much longer we watch the two cops on drugs saying hilarious staff to the teacher. Some jokes are weird, some are boring and totally not funny, but because the pace is maintained throughout, one does not have a chance to realise if the jokes are taken apart they are embarrassingly stupid. There was only one moment when the system did not work: final scenes with the penis joke. It was way beyond the usual scope; it did not fit the bill and was simply disgusting.

Needless to say that the other components do not really matter. Actors’ performance? Okay, Tatum played his part so well that you might even believe that it is actually the story of his life. But that might have worked with any big guy with duckface - Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson would have fit nicely too. Jonah Hill was as clumsy as was required of him. The rest of the cast? You will forget their names before the final titles.

Plot? Take out the jokes and that will be the most cliché and boring plot in years, with absolutely nothing to offer in terms of suspense or interest. Special effects? Work with camera? Director’s work? These all are non-existent here. The only thing that director had to do was to give the script to the two leading actors and see how they play out the jokes. And yes, he managed that well.

Overall, it is a very good, very relaxing, very funny watch. If you have 110 minutes to spend, and you want to have a little bit of light-hearted laugh, choose this movie. I cannot guarantee that you will want to watch it again though.

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