21 Jump Street [2012] ★★★

Just when I was ready to effing scream if I had to sit through another lame comedy, along comes “21 Jump Street” to make me a believer. That’s right, the movie is gut-bustingly funny. It’s raunchy, reckless, and ready to party. What’s not to like? I’ve never been a fan of Channing Tatum, but he is surprisingly well cast here, alongside Jonah Hill, as cops who go undercover in high school to bust a drug ring. These dudes hated each other in high school (check out the hilarious opening flashback with “prom king” Tatum and supernerd Hill, in braces and dyed-yellow curls). But wasn’t there a TV series with Johnny Depp with the same plot back in the 80’s? That’s also true. But “21 Jump Street” is no crappy reboot. Instead, it’s one hell of a ride. Some moviegoers were skeptical about the casting of Hill and Tatum, considering they have nothing in common. Hill is usually known for this raunchiness, but he also proved to be an Oscar contender in “Moneyball” (I love mentioning that). As for Tatum, he’s had his shares of misfires (“Dear John” and “The Vow” come to mind). As a result, Hill felt perfectly at home here, playing a weird “high schooler” trying to fit in. And much to my surprise, Tatum not only keeps up with Jonah’s goofiness, he also brings a lot of heart to his character as well (which is important here because he gives us rooting interest). This is not to say that the movie doesn’t have its moments of weakness, because it does. But these moments are very few, and they don’t ruin the overall experience. And by the end, we learn that there’s still at least one more movie to come. “21 Jump Street”, against all odds, delivers more than any comedy I’ve seen recently. It’s a damn good movie. End of story.

Rating: 3/4

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