'21 Jump Street': What the Critics Are Saying
21 Jump Street, starring Oscar nominee Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, has been receiving good reviews from critics. Co-directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs), the film is based on the 1980s TV show -- which carries the same name -- known for launching Johnny Depp's career.
Hill (Schmidt) and Tatum (Jenko) play a pair of trouble cops. After graduating from high school, they join the police force and end up as partners. Both are assigned to an undercover unit to infiltrate a drug ring that is supplying high school students with synthetic drugs.
The movie premiered to an enthusiastic audience at the South By Southwest Film Festival this week, receiving strong reviews. Going up against Universal holdover The Lorax, 21 Jump Street could win its opening weekend at the box office.
The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Rechtshaffen says, "Not since Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg teamed up in The Other Guys has an onscreen pairing proved as comically rewarding as the inspired partnership of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as baby-faced cops who go undercover at a high school to bust a drug ring."
Currently the movie boasts an 86 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Read below for what some of the critics are saying about the big-screen comedy:
Betsy Sharkey from Los Angeles Times writes, "Miller and Lord clearly understand the push-and-pull and hyper-competitiveness that make guy friendships both complex and stupid. That it comes to life so fully in 21 Jump Street is what gives the film an endearing, punch-you-in-the-arm-because-I-like-you-man charm."
She compares the new remake to the '80s TV show saying, "Depp's Street was more crime-and-punishment drama, though his brow was slightly arched even then. The reimagined 21 is total comic farce, with Schmidt and Jenko assigned to ferret out the supplier of a new designer drug that is incredibly potent — its crazed effect chronicled by one student YouTube style."
New York Times' A. O. Scott says praised that some remakes can work. "It [the movie] wants to be fun and, to a perhaps surprising extent, it is," Scott says. "Largely forsaking the sweet multiculturalism of the original for white-dude bromance, and completely abandoning earnest teenagers-in-crisis melodrama in favor of crude, aggressive comedy, this 21 Jump Street is an example of how formula-driven entertainment can succeed."
Claudia Puig from USA Today points out, "21 Jump Street accomplishes it with a fresh script, flip humor and inspired casting." She also writes that Tatum and Hill's chemistry works: "It's no surprise that Hill, as bumbling officer Schmidt, generates so many laughs. But who would expect Tatum, as the dimwitted officer Jenko, to be so comical? More often cast as a standard heartthrob — most recently in the sappy The Vow — Tatum holds his own with Hill and every other comic actor in the film. Their chemistry is terrific."
People Magazine's Alynda Wheat says of the pair's dynamic, "Tatum is all goofy charm as he tries to fit in with the nerds, while Oscar nominee Hill mines his easy wit." Wheat declares that 21 Jump Street is worthy of buying a ticket to. "It's that kind of humor, the go-for-broke lunacy that isn't afraid to offend but never veers to the offensive, that should unite fans of the series and folks who've barely heard of it," she writes. "Surely we could all use the laughs."