Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Action, Comedy
  • 2012

21 Jump Street

Film4 21 Jump Street

Synopsis

When two cops in their mid twenties (Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum) go undercover as high school students in order to crack a teenage drug ring, hilarity inevitably ensues

About

A complete delight, this is a fish-out-of-water comedy based not on age, but on the shifts in cultural cache that have occurred over the last ten years or so - with plenty of slapstick, swearing and high speed chases thrown in for good measure. The dialogue also does a nice line in pithy put-downs - if you can think of a better three-word description of Jonah Hill's appearance than "cherub-looking motherfucker", get thee to Hollywood.

The film's real revelation however, is Channing Tatum, who what with looking like a live-action Mr Incredible tends to get cast as military types, whether historical (The Eagle), tear-jerking (Dear John) or plain silly (G.I. Joe). Here, he's allowed to send up his looks and the presumption that someone who looks like that must be a himbo, and the result is a joy to watch; he's a nimble physical comic, but equally capable of selling the emotional highs and lows. Despite having the meatier character arc, Jonah Hill (who co-scripted the film with Scott Pilgrim's Michael Bacall) must work hard to keep the double act balanced.

The culture shock faced by these twenty-somethings heading back to high school to find eco-cool, internet-savvy, beautifully-dressed cliques of mature, politically correct and sexually liberated teenagers occupying the peak of the school's social pyramid is a thing of beauty. The film doesn't labour its point that things have changed since the days of jocks vs nerds, but this theme does help tease a sly contemporary relevance from that most-unpromising of starting points: a recycled eighties TV show.

Ultimately, what makes 21 Jump Street so refreshing is that it's relatively free from the dubious whiff of political incorrectness added purely for the sake of convincing idiots they're watching edgy, challenging "banter", which has marred a few comedies of recent years (see: The Hangover). 21 Jump Street proves you can be fresh, funny and filthy without punching down.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Channing Tatum
  • Director: Chris Miller, Phil Lord
  • Screen Writer: Michael Bacall
  • Photographer: Barry Peterson

In a nutshell

A good-natured must-see for fans of broad, silly comedies with a little something under the surface too. Bright, breezy and brilliant.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Judy Moody

    Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer

    Judy Moody sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life in this live-action adaptation of Megan McDonald's popular book series

    On Film4: 3 May 3:15PM

  • Film4 Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook

    Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in this Oscar-winning romantic dramedy that deals with the implications of a relationship forming in the midst of mental illness

  • Film4 Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook on Film4

    Jennifer Lawrence gives an Oscar-winning performance opposite Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's superior romantic comedy.

  • Film4 The Pact

    The Pact on Film4

    When Annie's sister disappears while organising their mother's funeral in their childhood home, she investigates as an unwelcome presence in the house begins to be felt

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

    Four Film4-backed films ¿ Todd Haynes¿ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino¿s Youth and Justin Kurzel¿s Macbeth ¿ have been invited into official selection at this year¿s Cannes film

Rent now on Film4od

Available to rent for £2.99

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share