21 JUMP STREET ( MA15+) ★★★★■ Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller Stars: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Brie Larson, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Ellie Kemper
You’re never too old to never learn a thing
STEP up comedy fans and stroll proudly down 21 Jump Street.
This is the very kind of dopily clever laugh- fest that Tropic Thunder almost was and Pineapple Express should have been.
That should be recommendation enough to drop everything and grab a ticket, especially if silliness at its most sussed is your thing. And at its most sustained as well.
Too many comedies these days run out of laughing gas too soon. Not this one.
First things first – do not be fooled by the tacky outward appearance of 21 Jump Street. Dumb comedies with jokey smarts like those in play here are hard to find but easy to recognise.
At the very top of its game, 21 Jump Street hits peaks of amusing absurdity not scaled since the Will Ferrell masterpiece Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
Secondly, fans of the iconic ’ 80s TV show that bounced Johnny Depp to the big time need to know their 21 Jump Street resides a universe away from the hilarious address visited here.
This is not a remake, a reboot or a rehash in any shape or form. The filmmakers have helped themselves to the same title and same ridiculous premise – adult cops going undercover as teenaged students at crime- riddled high schools – and let the rest be.
All you need to know of the plot – yes, there is one! – is that Channing Tatum ( The Vow) and Jonah Hill ( Superbad ) play two rookie policemen with a lot to learn when they hit the classroom once more.
They’ve been sent there by their hypercliched hard- arse of a boss ( Ice Cube, dispensing laugh- out- loud profanities at an Olympic level) to crack a sinister drug ring.
En route to cracking the big case, both would- be heroes find themselves experiencing school in a polar- opposite manner to what transpired in their youth ( the brilliant flashback sequence which opens the movie sets the grandiosely goofy tone of much to follow).
If you haven’t seen the 21 Jump Street trailer or read too much in advance, you will be coming to the picture at a distinct advantage.
The funniest set- piece sequences ( including a car chase that fails to observe every rule in the book) spring the element of surprise to perfection.
Even the lamer jokes win laughs because of the massive momentum achieved by the stronger material in play.