Cinema with Sharlette: '21 Jump Street'

by 3:54 PM PDT, March 16, 2012
Photo: Sony

Spawned from the concept of the hit TV series, this version of 21 Jump Street is original in every sense of the word.

The action-comedy stars Jonah Hill as Police Officer Schmidt, alongside Channing Tatum playing Officer Jenko. Before working as partners on the police force, Schmidt and Jenko were polar opposites attending the same high school. Schmidt the nerdy, tinsel-teeth kid did everything he could to fit in. Jenko was the teen who failed his exams but maintained an A-plus in good looks. High school behind them, their youthful appearance serves in their career choice. Schmidt and Jenko are assigned to the Jump Street Unit and go undercover to investigate a drug ring in a local high school. To their surprise, high school has changed quite a bit since their graduation. And the ironic twist becomes the catalyst to an unforgettable, repeat high school year.

21 Jump Street features a fun and hilarious cast. Jonah Hill is definitely establishing himself as the go-to guy for comedy movies. It is refreshing to see his humor again after the Academy Award nominated performance in Moneyball. No one is funnier than Jonah Hill. As executive producer and co-writer of the film, Hill's creative choices prove comical in front of and behind the camera. Tatum works well within the comedy genre. The nature of the story projects a playful, more relaxed side of Tatum that is enjoyable to watch.

The film takes advantage of every chance to make fun of itself, including cameos and the acknowledgment of stereotypical characters. Ice Cube as Captain Dickson is priceless. He’s the captain that you don’t want to disappoint. James Franco's brother, Dave Franco, is a standout as Eric, the eco-friendly, popular kid. Franco is known for his comedic antics, appearing in numerous web videos featured on His portrayal of Eric is infused with a bit of dark humor giving him just enough bad without tarnishing his juvenile innocence. Also worth noting in a supporting role is Rob Riggle. He is genius as Mr. Walters, the school athletic coach that garners laughs in every scene.

I could have done with a few less penis references. There are so many, you can’t count, even if you tried. I admittedly, was embarrassed by laughing at many of the moments. If you did not have enough, in your face, comedic gore, be sure to stay for the credits.