As a female who matured (somewhat) during the late 80s/early 90s, I have fond memories of 21 Jump Street. One of the (then) brand new Fox network’s early hits, it had the interesting premise of young-looking police officers going undercover in high schools and colleges to solve crimes and break up drug rings. Oh yeah, it also brought us the work of art that is Mr. Johnny Depp. It could be lighthearted, but wasn’t really a comedy. That being said, the movie reboot of the show is fantastic and so funny. I haven’t laughed this hard at a movie in quite a while, maybe since Horrible Bosses.
The movie follows Jonah Hill (Superbad, Get Him to the Greek) and the aesthetically pleasing Channing Tatum (GI Joe, Step Up) as two cops who first meet in high school. Channing Tatum is, of course, the popular kid due to his looks and athleticism, while Jonah Hill is an outcast due to his, well, lesser looks and athleticism. They meet again at the police academy, where they help each other pass and end up as partners. After an attempted drug bust gone hilariously awry, their police captain informs them they will be sent to a program from the 1980s that's being revived because, to paraphrase, the ones in charge are out of ideas and are using old stuff and hope nobody notices. Yes, that's a dig at the current entertainment industry.
From then on, it's pretty standard, plot wise. Ice Cube (Are We There Yet?, Barbershop) steals all of his scenes as their new captain at Jump Street. They're sent to a high school to try and find the supplier of a new, deadly drug. Along the way, they hit some culture shock due to the changes in the status quo. The smart, arty kids are now the popular ones, while the dumb jocks are laughed at, leading the guys to deal with a total role reversal of where they used to be. As Tatum puts it, "It's unnatural and it must be stopped".
The humor comes mainly from Hill and Tatum playing off each other, along with snappy dialogue and ridiculous situations that crop up during their police work. Parents, be warned, the movie totally earns its "R" rating, due to language, drug use, and an injury I won't even go into.
Even if you never watched the show, it doesn't matter, it's a great buddy cop comedy regardless. How good? I didn't even notice till the end that Channing Tatum never took his shirt off.