From the moment rookie cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) get their assignment to go undercover in a high school, because, according to their sergeant, the force’s higher-ups “lack creativity” and simply “recycle old ideas from the ’80s,” I knew I was in good hands.
Look, 21 Jump Street is hardly the first film to playfully acknowledge its own lame concept or to send up the buddy cop genre with a wink, but it certainly does it with style.
There are all sorts of clever recurring bits in this film, but among the best is the fact that, although Schmidt and Jenko are only seven years out of high school themselves—Schmidt was a brace-faced nerd and Jenko was a bullying big man on campus—all the rules have changed.
No one calls on the telephone anymore. (It’s all about texting now.) Not caring about anything, which Jenko tells Schmidt is a sure way to secure popularity, has been replaced by environmental and social activism. Nerds are now cool. Gay kids are celebrated.
“I know the culprit,” moans Jenko. “Glee.”
Another ingenious bit: Jenko is so dim-witted he has forgotten his undercover assignment name, so he ends up with the wrong identity. Now,...