Friday, March 16, 2012

REVIEW: Is ‘21 Jump Street’ worth your time and money?

Why does Hollywood feel the need to keep assailing my childhood?

Every time I turn around they’re remaking something I loved as a kid into something I’m going to hate as an adult.

They did it with ‘The Dukes of Hazzard,’ ‘Transformers,’ ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ and, most recently, ‘21 Jump Street.’

For the record, I don’t think that ‘21 Jump Street’ was exactly quality television. It was a lot better than all the reality programming we’re stuck with today, though. And, if I’m being honest, I didn’t watch the show for quality. I watched it for fashion tips and because Johnny Depp and Richard Grieco were hot (I was in middle school, sue me).

So why I am upset that they remade ‘21 Jump Street’? Because they did a really poor job of it, for starters.
First off, despite the dated wardrobe, the television show actually still holds up today. I guess the problems facing kids never really change. Sure, bullying may have gone viral but all kids have dealt with it in some form or another. In other words, it didn’t need to be remade. It most certainly didn’t need to be remade in to a comedy.

Yeah, that’s the biggest problem; this movie is being pushed as a comedy. And, when you look at it purely as a comedy, it’s not funny.

My second problem is the plot – which is so convoluted that it becomes actually ridiculous at points. Without any major spoilers, going undercover at a school should be enough – but to have them mix up their own identities? Now you’re just trying to force comedy for comedy’s sake – and that’s always a mistake.

Now, on to the acting. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the two leads. Essentially, whatever their names are, you’re supposed to liken them to Depp’s Tommy Hanson and Peter Deluise’s Doug Penhall.

I actually like Hill in just about everything he’s done (‘Superbad’ being my favorite) – but he’s flat in this. He doesn’t have any of Deluise’s charm or likeability as Schmidt. In fact, he’s not much of an entity at all. He actually has no screen presence – and that’s not something you can say about him as an actor very often.

As for Tatum, I don’t get the guy’s appeal. He’s definitely no Depp – but most actors aren’t. In this case, though, he’s not even a Grieco – and that’s saying something of a guy who hasn’t been relevant for 20 years. Tatum is largely charisma-free and lacks comedic timing. As far as looks go, I can see why someone would find him attractive – but if it was just looks that casting directors were looking for there were tons of better (and better looking) avenues they could have gone down.

I think the film’s biggest problem is a lack of heart. On ‘21 Jump Street’ the television show, you never doubted the officers’ loyalty to one another or dedication to their job. Sure you doubted their fashion sense – but the 80s did a lot of horrible things to wardrobes and hair – but their devotion to the work and each other was never in doubt. While watching this movie, all you think about is the fact that you just wasted $10 on a ticket and $20 for candy and popcorn and for that you could have bought the whole original series on DVD.

That being said, there is a fun little cameo from Depp, but it’s too small to actually justify spending money on the movie. In other words, if you’re feeling nostalgic, you’re better off with the original. This imitation isn’t worth your time or sanity.

What do you think? Did you like ‘21 Jump Street’?


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