elias1026’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've probably seen 21 Jump Street over seven times. I could probably count on one hand how many other movies have kept me entertained still after so many viewings. Now let's see here, National Treasure, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets...whatever I'm sure there are a few more.
To summarize: I like this movie a lot.
But in all seriousness, I realize that after so many viewings I had still yet to give this film a full (or at least my version of full) review. Now, let's attempt to remedy that:
21 Jump Street is a blockbuster comedy. This is by no means the genre most famous for churning out classic works of cinema, so in that respect, this movie stands alone -- or at least in a very exclusive club, the acceptance rate of which is getting lower and lower with each passing day. But it isn't just a comedy. It's a comedy by perhaps the comedic fimmaking duo of the past few years: Phil Lord and Chris Miller. These are the brilliant minds behind this year's Oscar-snubbed The Lego Movie, which alone would have been impressive, but also came out in the same year as the sequel to this film: 22 Jump Street.
This duo has proved themselves to be the foremost thinking minds in the blockbuster comedy/animated film business at this moment in time. Not only did they reboot an extremely played out theme and plot to create the Jump Street films, but also proved themselves capable of pure originality and whimsy with their animated endeavors. I cannot stress enough how talented and promising these two men really are.
Now to address this film in particular. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum - another brilliant pairing. These two men have such a chemistry on screen, that one can almost forget the magnetic and comic energy between Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, who haven't actually worked together in quite a few years. Could this be the new Hill and Cera? I believe it is. Channing Tatum has skyrocketed to success over the past few years, and anyone should be able to see why. Because he is talented as all heck. Here, he flexes his comic muscles, while in Magic Mike and Foxcatcher (a tour de force if I ever did see one) he proved capable of handling dramatic material with an equal, if not higher caliber skill-set.
In 21 Jump Street he plays Jenko, the dumb jock with a whole lot of heart, to Jonah Hill's Schmidt, also not short on heart, although perhaps a bit short in stature. The two are given the task -- after fucking up big time on park-duty -- to help reboot an old undercover unit. This parallel between the story and the franchise itself is a large part of what makes this reboot so brilliant. The second film delves even deeper into the hilarious critique of modern cinema, and the fact that nothing is original anymore. This is exactly the sort of meta-ness that I've been missing in my blockbusters for years, I just didn't know it until I saw this.
The two go undercover at a local high school, charged with the task of taking down a drug ring from within ("Infiltrate the dealers, find the suppliers."). They quickly fall into separate groups in the school, surprisingly finding crews with which they never would have run with during their actual high school careers. Thanks to a few scenes in the beginning of the film, and some dope-ass training montages, we get to see how the two were not such great friends in high school.
It becomes clear that one of the two becomes entrenched in the job, while the other falls in with some new friends, and finds it hard to sort out life on the inside with life in the real world. Some more dope-ass montages come into play somewhere in the third act.
The ending is excellent, tying up all loose ends, and staying true to the genre, it at times mocks, but ultimately belongs to.
To conclude: this is a dope movie. It's trill, lit, banging, you name it.