Unlike the other Takers!, I have been somewhat pleased by recent performances from both Galifianakis and Ferrell. In particular, I thought Everything Must Go to be one of the most underrated films of the last couple years. It’s pretty damn good and I recommend watching it. Likewise, It’s Kind of a Funny Story with Galifianakis is also really good, if less so than Ferrell’s. Obviously, The Campaign is nothing like either of those films; instead, it is more in line with Anchorman and The Hangover-type films. The previews didn’t win me over, but I’m still hoping for skewed and hilarious window into what’s become of politics in America.
21 Jump Street makes no bones about its basest intentions. This is no Judd Apatow comedy, raunchy with heart. This thing has no heart and absolutely revels in it. It’s all explosions, dick jokes, and drugs… And frankly it’s awesome.
It’s hard not to view any comedy these days in light of the Apatow style. Ever since Anchorman blasted its way out of Mos Eisley Spaceport and into the public concious, every comedy anybody liked was either an Apatow production, or something trying to capture that Apatowian mix of raunchy adult humor and sappy humanity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of all those movies… But they keep getting longer and longer and I have to admit I’m getting a little tired of the whole thing.
21 Jump Street is not such a movie. Instead it’s kind of a glorious mixture of ode and satire. It’s clear the cast and crew love the material they’re so heavily mocking and it’s all great fun. It has no problem making fun of itself while also delivering the sort of regular gags that connect one part of the film to the next. My favorite individual joke was when they made fun of remakes in general. Jonah Hill was very good, though I’m not going to say he really showed (or was asked to show) any of the chops he showed in Moneyball. Strangely enough, the only non-comedic acting that happened came courtesy of Channing Tatum. Who saw that coming? The bit players all delivered.
The plot is insignificant, really, since it’s just a vehicle for joke action. Basically it recreates the general plotline of the original TV show. Whatever, who cares, because it delivered the goods in the fun department. It also set up a ridiculous and funny (and predictable) cameo tie-in with Johnny Depp and some other cast member from the original show (I think it may have been Peter DeLuise, but I’m not sure).
For this movie, dick jokes get a paragraph all their own… Because this movie was FULL of dick jokes. I found the last one particularly funny. If you don’t like dick jokes, this thing is not for you.
Anyway, this is the best comedy I’ve seen in a while. Maybe since Knocked Up. I recommend it highly.
While 21 Jump Street is, as expected, a forgettable movie, there are enough laughs and pokes at Hollywood rehashing that it isn’t a total waste of time.
In this sort-of-remake of the 80s series, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play cop buddies who are tasked with going undercover at a high school where a vicious new drug has killed a teen. Their job, according to Captain Dickson (played to an hilarious and perfect cliche by Ice Cube), is to “infiltrate the dealers and find the supplier.” During their actual high school years, Hill’s character was a nerd and Tatum’s the dumb-but-cool jock. Both expect the same thing to happen again as they go undercover, but, naturally, the tables get turned.
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and screenwriter Michael Bacall are at least aware enough that the plot is out-and-out ridiculous and that Hollywood has a severe problem with rehashing old ideas – indeed, the speech given by Hill’s and Tatum’s chief (also played to perfection by the ever-funny Nick Offerman) particularly stands out as a self-mocking wink to the audience. It also helps that some of the regular jokes are also funny.
However, 21 Jump Street isn’t clever or tongue-in-cheek enough to stick out. It’s no Anchorman or Superbad. (Sidenote: is there a movie with Jonah Hill that doesn’t, at some point, throw a house party besides Moneyball?) I cannot in good conscience recommend this movie, but if you see it, you won’t hate yourself afterward, and you may, if you’re lucky, laugh a little bit.