21 Jump Street (2012)

Ok, I went into this flick with my expectations sloshing around at the slimy bottom of the barrel. And that MAY have been a good thing. I laughed out loud many times during this completely self-aware parody/homage of the classic late 80s TV series. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum both came through with flying colors in the ‘comedy’ department as a pair of former high school ‘opposites’ that find themselves, in the embryonic phase of their cop careers, assigned to an abandoned undercover ‘concept’ unit  “from the 80s” . As usual, Hill rocked the quick wittisms and gawky awkwardness well, while Tatum surprised me with his own, inspired (and funny) dumbass jock impression. Many of the supporting actors were amusing in their own ways also, with Ice Cube hamming it up in the very self-referential ‘angry black captain’ role and Ellie Kemper as a twitchy science teacher that hilariously seems to always lose her mind to her libido when Tatum gets near. Not all the jokes work but the quantity that do make up for any that hit the ground flat on their faces. The ‘villians’ are cartoonish morons but there was no need for any real sense of menace. Which isn’t to suggest an absence of action…not at all. There’s a good handful of set pieces that do their best to turn the 80s flavored conventions and stereotypes of ‘action’ on their heads and they do so while winking at the audience. The ability of the filmmakers to pull the savvy viewer in; to include them in the joke works nicely in the movies favor and helps properly ‘tint’ the comedy. And there are a few awesome, COMPLETELY appropriate cameos to help round things out. If you crave a highly ‘tongue in cheek’, sarcastic yet slightly sweet comedy/action that lampoons AND celebrates classic 80s TV and style…this one will plug THAT hole in your life.

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