Academy Award-nominee Jonah Hill sure has come a long way up the comedic ladder. While a regular scene-stealer in just about anything Judd Apatow touches, he’s never been as on the ball as he is here with his own rendition of 21 Jump Street. Creators Stephen J. Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh may have wrung five seasons out of their series, but here’s hoping for a new cinematic franchise. While some may balk about a revamping of yet another canceled ’80s TV show, what Jonah Hill (who shares story credit with screenwriter Michael Bacall) has pulled out of his hat is a mix of Hot Fuzz, The Other Guys, and even a sprinkling of The Lonely Island.
That last one may at first glance seems more of a coincidence. But one scene in particular really focuses your attention back on the fact that the film’s directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, were the masterminds behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. There they brought a slew of inventiveness to the world of computer-animated family fare. And considering that film featured Andy Samberg brings us right back to The Lonely Island (particularly Hot Rod) since they were both executive producers of their Awesometown TV shorts, so now it all makes perfect sense.
In the new 21 Jump Street, we begin in 2005 where Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are high school seniors and couldn’t be more different. While Schmidt walks around with his Eminem styled hair sporting a mouth full of hardwire, Jenko can’t help himself with being the F-grade flunky his principal knew he’d wind up being. Turns out now that Jenko is banned from prom and Schmidt has no one to go with after his hot neighbor turns him down in front of Jenko in the hallway. Springing forward to the present, Schmidt and Jenko wind up at the same police academy and decide to become friends since Jenko is good at the physical elements and Schmidt is all brains.
Upon graduation, they think it’s finally their time to kick some ass, but instead they wind up as a couple of bike cops at the local park. After they try to take down some cocaine wielding bikers and forget to read one his Miranda rights, a technicality sets him free. Now Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) sends them off to a program canceled in the ’80s and they are to report to a particular address that’s right on the tip of his tongue. In a defunct Korean church (complete with its own Korean Jesus) lies a program full of undercover cops who are all young looking enough to pass as high school students.