21 Jump Street - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

21 Jump Street Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 27, 2014
21 Jump Street was an unexpected surprise. It's the funniest film of 2012 and amidst all the laughs manages to accurately portray the modern day high school. While the script is smart and the self-referential jokes are welcome, the movie belongs to its stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. They are a great comedy duo. This movie alone made me a fan of Tatum.
Super Reviewer
½ June 22, 2014
More of the same. A 100 min. (approx.) journey that wasn't jumpy enough to enjoy the ride. Besides, the casting disappointed big time.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2012
"21 Jump Street" may seem like a pointless reboot/remake of the classic Johnny Depp television show, and it pretty much is, but the thing that makes this film so great is the fact that it acknowledges that it is unoriginal and comes up with jokes that are actually funny! Something that has been missing from many comedies lately. The subtle points the film makes about being a film are hilarious, the chemistry between Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill is arousing (watch the movie to see what I mean), and the directing is fantastic. The pace of this movie could not have been any better. Also, I welcome with open arms, James Franco's brother Dave, who, in his very first film role is great, even though some of his characters dialogue is a bit over-the-top. This is a film that should have been a disaster, but turned out to be a laugh-out-loud genius comedy. There are also some cameo's and some hidden background elements that pretty much trash the fact that films have too much product placement. Even though some parts go a little too far, and there are a lot, and I mean a lot of dick jokes, "21 Jump Street" is the best comedy of the year so far, and overall probably one of my favourite comedies.
Super Reviewer
February 16, 2014
three stars
Nikhil N.
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2014
I laughed so hard so many times in this movie. Some scenes are ridiculously stupid and others are surprisingly really smart. In addition, Hill and Tatum have a great chemistry that makes their exchanges especially entertaining. 21 Jump Street makes up for flaws in its story by being highly enjoyable and absolutely hysterical.
Super Reviewer
½ March 12, 2012
Fresh reboot for '21 Jump Street' series with the fresh performance from Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill..
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2013
This movie was absolutely hilarious, and to its credit, wove in a real sense of humour about the ridiculousness of its mere existence; it had me from the moment that the police chief explained away the placement of the two delinquent cop heroes in the high school enforcement project with a comment about how the people who run this stuff lack creativity and are always resurrecting some lame program from the past and trying to pass it off as new (while Hill and Tatum listen, completely straight-faced). It's a buddy-cop, reluctant partner, action-comedy that's jammed with wise cracks, slapstick and mistaken identity, not to mention plenty more winks at the camera - and on top of it all, it tells a decent story about popularity, achievement and friendship. One of those rare comedies I know I could watch a hundred times, and among the most sadly overlooked films of 2012.
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2012
My favorite movie of 2012.
Market Man
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2012
Not the most memorable comedy but it's good enough. The chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is great, but not only that, they create likable characters that we can relate to. There's a couple gross-out gags that I found unfunny, but otherwise "21 Jump Street" succeeds in bringing laughs.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2012
21 Jump Street ran on TV from 1987-1991 and is mainly known as serving as a launching pad for eventual mega movie star Johnny Depp... and Richard Greico too. Youthful looking police officers infiltrated high schools and tackled topical issues of the day (what snap bracelet goes best with my high-waisted jeans?). Why would anyone want to make this movie, let alone comic actor Jonah Hill? Surprising in just about every way, especially when it comes to overall quality, the 21 Jump Street movie is not just a great comedy but also a great movie. How the hell did this happen, Movie Gods?

Officer Schmidt (Hill) is smart but shrimpy (which is saying something considering how dangerous Hill's weight has been before). Officer Jenko (Channing Tatum) is a stud but pretty dimwitted when it comes to tests. The two form a partnership and get assigned as bicycle cops, not exactly the position of command and authority they were expecting. After a few screw-ups, including failing to read a suspect his Miranda rights ("You... have the right... to be an attorney"), the duo gets bounced to an old undercover program at, you guessed it, 21 Jump Street. The pair is supposed to pose as high school students and find out who's supplying teenagers a dangerous new club drug. Much has changed since Schmidt and Jenko were in high school together, and both of their profiles were accidentally swapped, meaning Jenko is given AP chemistry and the higher level classes, and Schmidt is given gym and acting courses, where he's supposed to work his way into the popular circles. Molly (Brie Larson) is a gal in that popular inner circle and Schmidt struggles to accept that a pretty, smart, popular girl might actually "like like" him.

I knew I was in for something special when the movie itself lambastes the very idea of a 21 Jump Street movie, with the police chief (Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman) ridiculing the idea of unoriginal nitwits recycling something old that has name recognition and hoping the public will be too dumb to care. The movie beats the audience to the punch every time, mocking the absurdity of its own premise and plot points (many characters note how old Jenko appears). I should have expected more from screenwriter Michael Bacall (co-writer of the Scott Pilgrim movie adaptation) and especially from directors Phil Lord and Chris Hill, the same pair whose rambunctious comedic verve radiated from every frame of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and their brilliant short-lived animated MTV show, Clone High. This movie had me laughing a lot and had me laughing hard, doubling over, with-tears-in-my-eyes laughter at points. Dickson spouts, "Some kid overdoses on drugs. And because he's white, people actually give a s***," showing that a movie with a mind-blowing number of male genitalia jokes can provide a few shrewd jabs of social commentary. There's a great bit where on their first day back in school, Jenko points out the various school cliques. Then he gets to a group of students in skinny jeans, thrift store clothes, and floppy hats, and he looks puzzled. "I don't know what those kids are?" Ha, because hipsters didn't exist back in his (my) day.

21 Jump Street is cheeky, rowdy, quick-witted and playful in the best sense of an action comedy. It's got fish-out-of-water moments as the duo struggle to fit in with a different high school setting. The one-liners and riffs can be gut-busters, but the film does an even better job layering oddball gags (Korean Jesus), loony slapstick, fun but telling character moments (Schmidt not knowing how to end a prayer: "The end, right? 'The end'?"), strong setups that have stronger payoffs (using the reading of Miranda rights as a genuine emotional climax), and an overall raucous, anarchic spirit.

Here's one sequence in particular that shows off the film's clever comedic chops. The film finds a way to satirize the tropes of action movies, particularly buddy cop movies, with such nimble precision. Schmidt and Jenko are on the run but their car chase keeps butting heads with the fabricated reality of Hollywood movie chases. For one, they keep finding themselves getting stuck in traffic on the highway. This forces them to have to keep abandoning cars and finding a new set of wheels ahead of the gridlock. Then, as the bad guys chase them down on motorcycles, the chase causes all sorts of chaotic collateral damage, including oil trucks riddled with bullet holes and dripping the flammable substance all over the road. Then one of the motorcycles skids into the flammable muck, and our heroes wince in preparation of the expected explosion, and then nothing happens. "Huh. I really thought that was going to explode," one of them remarks casually. And this setup is repeated again, denying us the explosive equation that action movies have pummeled into our brains (car + any tap of force = humungous fireball), and there is a payoff to this comedic tweak on the cliché, and it is silly and terrifically funny. Plus, I haven't even mentioned that both Schmidt and Jenko are dressed in silly outfits and begin their car chase in a driver's ed car. This sequence is just one example of the anarchic, robust, and self-aware comedic attitude that the movie flaunts.

But more than being a hysterical action picture, 21 Jump Street works even better because at its core is a level of sweetness, a satisfying mixture of lewd and heart like the best Judd Apatow ventures. It's a bromance of epic proportions even by buddy cop standards, the old school bromance vehicle of its day. The guys go back to high school and the movie's bright switcheroo puts the characters in opposite social spheres, with Schmidt with the cool kids and Jenko struggling with the social misfits and bottom-dwellers, a.k.a. nerds. Of course the whole class assignment also shows the façade of being cool in high school. The movie could have mined this well-worn stereotypical class conflict with ease, but instead it decides to use its contrived scenario as a jumpstart for the guy's emotional growth. The lessons may be simplistic (perils of ego, believe in yourself, teamwork, personal responsibility) but that doesn't make them bad lessons, and the fact that the flick seriously uses covalent bonds as a metaphor, and does so in an almost poignant fashion, is worth applauding. The relationship between Schmidt and Jenko engages the audience, and we root for them even when they're behaving like jerks. They're misfits who are doubted and reprimanded, which make us hope for their eventual success even more. Refreshingly, the movie doesn't put them in opposing camps in high school. Schmidt was a dweeb and Jenko was a dumb jock, but that doesn't mean they needed to be adversarial. When they regroup in the police academy, they form a genuine partnership, realizing they can assist one another. They form an actual friendship and they're both better cops, and better characters, together.

Hill and Tatum have preposterously good chemistry together as a comic duo. Hill, a co-writer himself, reportedly had to remain steadfast to convince Tatum to join forces, and thank god he stuck it out. Hill's already a comic pro at this point, though this role tones down his comical rancor and ups the spaz awkwardness. Tatum is the true revelation. Man does this guy have really great comedic skills; a sharp, instinctive sense of timing, a pliable physicality, and a genial charisma that doesn't demand solo attention. He's good at playing dumb without going overboard. He's not just good, he's flat-out terrific. Larson (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is an adorable and plucky love interest, sure of herself, down to earth, and accessibly quirky. The supporting cast shines in their small roles, notable Ice Cube (Lottery Ticket) as the typical brash and loud police captain, Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids), in her randiest roll yet, as a chemistry teacher awkwardly flirting with the hunky Jenko, Dave Franco (Fright Night) as an eco-friendly drug dealer, Rob Riggle (The Other Guys) as an aggressive gym teacher, and a special cameo that's worth leaving unspoiled.

21 Jump Street has some weaker points, namely when the action ramps up it's pretty mundane when it's not being funny, but the faults are minor. This is a silly, shrewd, salacious, and outright thrill of giddy entertainment, a comic blast. Hill and Tatum have a wonderful comedic dynamic and the clever screenplay gives them plenty to do with their talents. I didn't think it was possible to adapt the cheesy TV show into a worthwhile studio comedy, but Hill and company have exceeded every expectation. 21 Jump Street isn't the most nuanced or subtle comedy, though I will argue spiritedly that it has plenty of smarts in all the right places, but it's an affectionate, witty, and rambunctious night out at the movies that will be hard to beat this spring.

Nate's Grade: A-
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2012
21 Jump Street is a hilarious, raucous, smart if a bit formula teen comedy. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have great chemistry together which results in hilarity. The small twist at the end is gory, but at the same time gut-bustingly funny. Well-executed and well acted, 21 Jump Street is above average teen comedy that's got bite and wit.
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2012
Easily one of the funniest movies I've seen in a while. Tatum, Hill, and Cube (first name: Ice) nail the deliveries of very funny lines throughout the movie. Trust me, you'll be disappointed when it's over and will immediately want to see it again.
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2012
I thought it was an enjoyable movie, mothing special to maybe warrant me watching it again!
Amusing and i like the storyline, the amazing cameo by Johnny Depp was awesome ! :) But a mediocre movie by my standards!
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2011
"A great comedy. There are plenty of laughs. One of the better comedies I have seen in a long time. Hill and Tatum are a great match and play well off of each other. I really liked that they had cameos of the original cast of the hit show. I remember watching re-runs of this show with my older sister who was deeply in love with Mr. Depp. She still is. It's a great mix of comedy and action. The film never gets serious and stays light making it easy to enjoy the silliness of it. The ending left open a chance for a sequel. I hope it happens."
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2012
ok I must be missing something, this got lots of good reviews, I thought it was just silly really. I don't think Channing Tatum is suited to comedy, has a few funny moments but I thought it was mostly daft and very simple over used idea.
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2012
One of the funniest comedies I've seen since "Knocked Up".

It's the resurrection of an 80's TV show with a modern twist to the entire premise. Everything you can find from a definitively laugh-out-loud mainstream comedic film, you'll find in "21 Jump Street": a sharp and raunchy script, hilarious plot turns, excellent pacing, memorable performances, and an emotional core is the name of the game. Every single turn the film takes, there's laughter right around the corner.

Wow, it's been a while since I've seen a great comedy; "21 Jump Street" delivers. You into Judd Apatow films? This is your type of movie. Yeah, you're gonna find slapstick humor every now and then, but at it's core is a witty, punchline driven comedy.
Super Reviewer
July 27, 2012
An unexpected comedy with an unexpected plot/script that surprisingly and unexpectedly made a hit. Tatum and Hill provides the best on-screen team action and chemistry that one would not imagine. Laughs, giggles, explosions and gunshots from every angle occur in the film. 21 Jump Street takes a steer in new direction that though appeared unprecedented, came out to be a successful journey that was worth-while. 5/5
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2012
Well, maybe it's my aversion to Jonah Hill, but this was nowhere as good as I expected. I kept waiting to laugh....waiting..... then I would see a glimmer of something that made me think "here comes the funny...." then nothing. I did enjoy the cameo, however, because I was a fan of the tv show. Other than that, I am not sure what everyone liked about this movie...
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2012
21 Jump Street has an interesting and fun premise, but fails to deliver effective humor and suffers from weak characters, gags, and poor action sequences.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2012
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are insanely comical playing two of the most immature cops since Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett (Bad Boys). Inside the film's rude and very raunchy gags is a rather intelligent spoof of typical high school movie cliches. Not only do the two leads make for a surprisingly potent comedy duo, but Ice Cube also gives a great turn as the trash-talking Captain Dickson. He chews up scenery like it is his last acting job ever and that is why he is so glorious in the role. Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise make cameo appearances, playing the same characters from the original TV show, in a scene that is also pretty funny. This is a comedy that knows what it is and consistently delivers on the jokes while giving the audience a wildly joyful thrill ride. I couldn't remember the last time I had this much fun with a comedy.
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