There's been a recent trend to give successful animators a shot at live action - Brad Bird ('The Incredibles' and 'The Iron Giant') directed 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol'; Andrew Stanton, director of 'Wall-E' and 'Finding 'Nemo' took on 'John Carter,' and now the directors of 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' - Phil Lord and Chris Miller - get to helm '21 Jump Street.'
Originally a trashy 80's TV series, now perhaps best remembered as the show that one Johnny Depp was once in, '21 Jump Street' is not a show anyone cared about seeing on the big screen. A fact all involved have run with, by creating a satire of, well, shows like '21 Jump Street.' The result? A smart, fun and pretty funny movie that really couldn't care less about its source material. Written by Jonah Hill (who also stars) and Michael Bacall (who adapted 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World'), protagonists Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are rookie cops from different sides of the tracks. When local law enforcement decides to "revive a cancelled program from the 80s" (all puns intended), the boys team up and go back to high school... undercover. So far, so Sandra Bullock in 'Miss Congeniality' - but 'Jump Street' has a lot of fun with the cliches of high school movies, buddy-buddy action flicks and Hollywood genre movies in general.
At one point, a character even says how there are no original ideas anymore - just remakes of 1980s TV shows... Yup, it's that self-referential, but not in a pretentious 'Scream' sorta-way - more in a, let's-cast-Ice-Cube-as-a-version-of-every-80s-police-captain-cliche sort of way - and they keep poking fun at how both stars are way too old to get away with posing as students at a high school.
This then is a movie that's having its cake and eating it too. If you enjoyed 'The Other Guys' then you'll enjoy the mismatched pair of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as much as Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Tatum's limited acting chops suit his character here and there's a great supporting cast, including 'Parks & Recreation' star, Nick Offerman; Dave (brother of James) Franco, and a guest appearance by some little-known actor from the original '21 Jump Street' TV show, by the name of Depp.
All in all? Surprisingly fun :)