With blond hair extensions, torpedoed jeans, six inch platform sandals, and enough makeup to make Cleopatra or Lady Gaga wince with envy, I unsuccessfully tried to blend with the young, lustful banshees at a screening of “21 Jump Street”. Naively unaware that it had been a television series, starring Johnny Depp.
Surprises are often camouflaged and twenty minutes into the movie I found myself enjoying the raunchy silliness: Channing Tatum, “Jenko” and Jonah Hill, “Schmidt” were masterful in their portrayals of “brawn’ and “brain” role reversals; high school contemporaries: Schmidt, the brainy, unnoticed nerd; Jenko the handsome, thought -starved hunk; meet seven years later at the police academy, becoming friends; their failures at law enforcement are hilarious and as a last resort they are sent to a High School posing as students and brothers; actually, undercover cops unearthing drug dealers and their sources. Nice performance by Dave Franco (clone of his brother James) as “Eric” the entrepreneur of illegal issue.
What follows is an interesting study of reliving your past in “another boy’s shoes”; Jenko’s metamorphosis from dumb to not- so- dumb, finalizing in discovered intelligence was revealing; he earns the respect of his fellow chemists. Likewise, Schmidt discovers the aphrodisiac of popularity, overindulges and is penalized.
This movie will appeal massively to the multitudes of twenty and thirty- year- olds; those who loved “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, “Hangover”, “Knocked Up”; films I left or chose not to see.
The performances of Hill and Tatum resonate with perfect comedic pitch, compelling chemistry, even genuine, convincing sincerity. A lesson in how ephemeral are the rules of “cool”; surprisingly, maturity springs from unlikely fountains at implausible moments.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!