Thursday, 17 May 2012

21 Jump Street Commentary

This is what The Other Guys could have and should have been.  On the surface, you would think that Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell would be a much better buddy cop duo than the pretty boy from GI Joe and the fat kid from Superbad.  But, rather than rely on an actor's one quasi-funny trick (ahem! Will Ferrell), Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill let their characters develop and actually become people that the viewer cares about.  My brother, Karl, said you could really see that they both put a lot of effort into becoming those characters and he's right.  During the movie you can really tell that both of them cared a lot about making this a good buddy cop movie.

Yes, the plot is completely impossible and Ice Cube is in it so I automatically cannot say that the acting is good all around.  But, those flaws notwithstanding, this is a very tightly made movie.  (Don't get me wrong.  I don't mind Ice Cube but he really isn't a good actor.)  It never drags on.  I never once felt like they should start wrapping it up.  The over the top comedy bits are very well placed and spaced out so that you never feel like you're watching a movie that has to rely solely on crazy humour (like the last two movies I reviewed).  This allows 21 Jump Street to be smarter than it should be.  After all, it is a remake of an 80s TV show and completely unoriginal (a fact they make fun of early on).  However, I never saw the TV show so I may have seen this movie as smarter than it is.  But even with the over the top language, they never really have to rely on anything too "American Pie" crude to get laughs. There are a couple of instances of that but, for the most part, it is very well written comedy.

Finally, the casting.  Overall, it was very well done.  Chris Parnell and Rob Riggle play exactly what we've come to expect and they do it well.  Parnell is a subtle dweeb and Riggle is basically an over-caffeinated UFC fan; character parts that are exactly what they need to be.  And, if you want a film where you have an awkward, nerdy guy mixed up with a pretty boy dufus, Hill and Tatum are pretty much born for those roles.  Finally, though, did you ever see the latter episodes of the show Sliders when Jerry O'Connell quit and they got his brother to replace him?  It was OK but really awkward.  That's the same feeling I got watching Dave Franco playing a role that his brother James would have played better.

Anyways, as I said, it's a tight movie that moves fast and is smart but doesn't take itself seriously.  Hill and Tatum play off of each other as well as any comedy duo in recent memory.  See it.

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