A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Here's the last movie I was expecting with this title. In other words, "21 Jump Street" is pretty good. There seemed to be little demand for a movie spinoff of the crime drama that ran on Fox from 1987 to 1991, and which had an early starring role for Johnny Depp. Perhaps realizing that, the filmmakers have abandoned any pretense of being faithful to the series, and turned to a mashup of screwball comedy, action and "The Odd Couple" formula.
The couple here are Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum), who were opposites in high school and still are eight years later. In high school, Schmidt was a pudgy nerd who wore braces and couldn't get his mouth to work while trying to ask a girl to the prom. Jenko was a good-looking jock to whom all things came easily; unfortunately, he was the dim bulb in the chandelier.
In a brief prologue, the movie spares us the tiresome routine where the jock makes life miserable for the nerd; all he does is snicker with everyone else when poor Schmidt gets tongue-tied. They have no reason to be enemies, because they're from different planets. When we meet them again, they're both in the police academy, where Schmidt aces all the exams and fails everything physical, and Jenko does the opposite. That makes them both misfits, and they feel a growing camaraderie.
After an unpromising start as bicycle-riding cops on park patrol, they're exiled to an undercover unit investigating a dangerous new drug infiltrating a local high school. The captain in charge (Ice Cube) is the typical police veteran who can't believe the incompetence of these losers. I should mention that his name is Dickson — inevitable in a movie papered with dick jokes. The male member, having gone unmentioned during most of the cinema's first 110 years, now co-stars in many comedies.