Movie Review: 21 Jump Street

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An old television favorite is reincarnated on the big screen. “21 Jump Street,” starring Channing Tatum and Johan Hill, premiered Friday, March 16, at theaters around the county.  In alignment with Fox’s hit TV show, which aired from 1987 to 1991 for a total of 103 episodes, Tatum and Hill star as former classmates turned undercover police officers Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill).

The film opens with a flashback to their high school days, showing Jenko in the classic dumb jock role, with Schmidt falling in line as the smart nerd bullied by Jenko. Flash forward and despite the ruthless torment, these two have developed quite the bromance while enrolled in the Police Academy: Jenko helps Schmidt with his physical training, Schmidt helps Jenko with his academic, and they both graduate. Too bad they aren’t very good.

After a few too many screw ups, Jenko and Schmidt are transferred to the secret Jump Street unit, where they are assigned to go undercover at a local high school to bring down a drug ring selling a new hallucinogenic called – wait for it – Holy F****ing S**t.

Both Jenko and Schmidt enter into the situation believing their undercover roles will mirror their high school personas and are baffled to discover that the “cool kids” are environmentalists who look down their noses at jocks.  While the main story line follows the investigation, the real fun is watching Jenko and Schmidt squirm in their newly – and unintentionally – exchanged roles: Jenko has to bond with the nerds in science class while Schmidt is quickly accepted into the popular inner circle. This role reversal eventually tests the strength of their friendship – and almost jeopardizes the investigation.

Fans of the original “21 Jump Street” will feel a brush of nostalgia with appearances by original cast members Johnny Depp and Holly Robinson Peete, and audiences alike are sure to enjoy Ice Cube’s performance as the impatient, straightforward Captain Dickson.  Peppered with witty one-liners and outrageous scenes, 21 Jump Street is not to be missed.

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