I returned from broadcasting a soccer match and covering another for the newspaper the other day to find Jon watching 21 Jump Street. I never saw it in theaters and part of the reason for that is because I wasn’t impressed with the trailers. Also, these days I’m unlikely to pay to see a comedy. A lot of the comedies that come out these days appear stupid and plot-less, movies that just have a bunch of jokes thrown in amid incredibly weak story structures. However, I was exhausted by the time I got back and didn’t feel like doing anything else, so I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.
Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) are former classmates who both enter the police academy and end up becoming friends and partners. They make an arrest while on park patrol and are assigned to go to a high school undercover to bust a suspected drug operation.
It’s a pretty basic plot as with most comedies that isn’t pushing the boundaries of storytelling. It’s basic, but unique, so I wasn’t too disappointed with that. As the movie goes on, the plot becomes more clichéd, and returns to the comedies-of-today stereotype.
The humor and comedy itself is funny when it comes up. It’s going to get some hard laughs out of you occasionally, and occasionally during short segments they come one after another, making for a good time. At other points, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller enter sentimental grounds that don’t succeed in arousing the caring feeling from me that they were desiring. I want to but I just don’t. I honestly couldn’t even remember the character’s names without looking at a cast list. I’m sure that part of it is because they’re undercover for a large part of the movie and using fake names, but I do think that may have been part of the problem.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (After Earth, Road to Perdition, Total Recall, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Along Came Polly)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot Games, The Great Gatsby, Pitch Black, Alien)
20-29 What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All Fears)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight Cowboy, Dark Fury)
My score for 21 Jump Street: 75.
The character development is there, but it’s nothing over the top or creative. The directors just followed the “how-to write a screenplay” playbook and they executed it step by step. The jokes are there and when they are, they’re funny, but the times when they aren’t is when the movie struggles because of the unoriginal plot and characters. Watching this movie did not make me regret not seeing it in theaters because if I could have done it over, I still wouldn’t have paid to see this.
*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!
Nothing to spoil here, aside from the fact that the movie’s ending is seen from many miles away. If it surprises you, you haven’t seen a lot of movies.