“Hey, hey! Stop fuckin’ with Korean Jesus. He ain’t got time for yo problems, he’s busy wit Korean shit!” – Captain Dickson, 21 Jump Street (2011)
Comedy is an art form that is unique to every single person on the Earth. For me, offensive material is very funny. See from my point of view, Frankie Boyle is tame, especially when compared with other comedians like Jim Jeffries. So when it comes to a film like 21 Jump Street, it’s clear from the get go that it will take a lot to make me laugh. Honestly from my point of view it seems that this film was geared more towards mentally deficient children than anyone else. But that’s just my opinion, which I’m going to have to explain throughout this next review.
Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) join the 21 Jump Street, a task force challenged with infiltrating a high school and wiping out a new drug. There they find it difficult to rejoin the life of a high school student. As the two find out along the way, times have changed within the high school system. Schmidt finds unfound popularity while Jenko recedes to the nerdy group. A complete role reversal for the two challenges their friendship and, more importantly, the mission. The supporting cast for the film includes Rob Riggle, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman and Ice Cube.
The chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum simply isn’t there for me. Now at time of writing I have in fact watched 22 Jump Street (2014), so I can safely say that they do have chemistry. However, in this film, it’s pretty much completely absent. That may be because for the majority of the film they’re just propping up the two stereotypes given to them. Schmidt is popular therefore fits in, obviously it’s the opposite for Jenko.
I think the scene that proved the lack of chemistry and comedy to me came rather early into the runtime. There’s a scene where both Jenko and Schmidt take turns jumping over a car. Jenko lands the jump, Schmidt gets hit by the car. See, it’s funny because he was hit by a car. Pretty low brow stuff for a comedy movie if I’m honest. Truly, I’ve seen more comedic moments in Schindler’s List (1993). The film spends so much time going “it’s funny because…” rather than actually being funny on its own merit.
But that’s not to say there weren’t some rather funny scenes throughout. Although the majority of the jokes were heavily focused on drugs and sex, there were a few shining moments. The scene where the two end up in the toilet trying to throw up the drugs was quite funny. Alongside that was Channing Tatum mistaking Bakugan for drugs. I’ve honestly no clue if that was scripted or just his genuine mistake, but either way it was quite funny.
However that doesn’t stop the film from heavily relying on the use of pop culture references. Believe me there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they’re done correctly. But with this film they’re just so horribly handled. Johnny Depp literally just shows up out of the blue at the end of the film for an unnecessary cameo. Believe me, it’s unnecessary, I think he’s a tosser.
Yes, Rob Riggle is still a “comedian” apparently. At the time this film had released I’m pretty sure he was in the U.S. Military still. He should’ve stuck to his guns I suppose. I watched him recently on The Roast of Rob Lowe (2016) and he’s just not funny. Yelling things into a microphone and explaining the overall point of the joke isn’t comedy. But here he is once again, in a surprisingly mediocre performance. I say surprisingly especially considering after watching Absolutely Anything (2015), I didn’t think he could surpass terrible. Still, the bar was extremely low for him, and he managed to impress because of it.
Nick Offerman is in this film and to be quite honest he’s always a pleasant surprise in whatever film he shows up in. Still his role in this film is of the smallest of proportions. He more or less segways us into going from regular police officer to the 21 Jump Street crew. Because of the simplicity, he serves his purpose with ease and gets in one or two chuckles along the way.
The soundtrack, as expected, is just a lot of teen trash. To be fair that is the point, right? Well, yeah, I guess it sort of is. That doesn’t make it any less shit though, because it is quite honestly just trash the whole way through. Honestly what else would I expect though, it’s obviously catering towards that audience anyway. The same goes for the lighting and cinematography too, nothing interesting in the slightest. I do have to admit though that there is a good component and that was in fact the chase scene. Really, it blended some action with some comedy and it worked rather well. If the entire film had been that good I would absolutely have enjoyed it a lot more.
To me this film was less a comedy and more of a “see how long you can watch before you pause the film and take a break”. The entire joke for the whole film was basically just down to it’s a role reversal and therefore it’s funny. That’s not how it works whatsoever, but they do try and they try really hard. Being the difficult to impress shit that I am, this film really does highlight everything I find wrong with modern comedy films. A lot of jokes that have no punchline.
Still, the film does prove what I have always known. My generation, myself included, are genuine arseholes. Drug riddled alcoholics with no career prospects unless binge eating Oreos and Absinthe is a career now. Anyways, the repressed little dick heads in this film don’t cater to my comedic needs, I did, for a brief moment, have hope in this film. But then I saw Channing Tatum teabag a criminal that had been taken to the ground. That was enough for me.