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21 Jump Street (DQ)


Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Ellie Kemper, Holly Robinson Peete, Rob Riggle, DeRay Davis

Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Dim jock Jenko (Tatum) and nerdy Schmidt (a slimmed-down Hill) are mismatched cops and the despair of their captain (Ice Cube). Although musclebound Jenko was contemptuous of much-bulled Schmidt at college, Schmidt had the last laugh when his nemesis was expelled for flunking exams.

Now, after bungling the capture of some drug dealers - Jenko nails one, but can't remember the rights he has to read - the hapless duo is sent undercover as college students to track down the guys who are supplying the local kids.

Here, things look OK until Jenko fails to remember his cover name, and the pair find themselves with opposite identities, as it were, forced to study chemistry and drama, at which they are, respectively, useless and too shy. Strangely, though, Jenko does find an interest in chemistry, with a little help from the geeks in his class, and Schmidt, after ingesting some of the mystery drugs, snags the prize role of Peter Pan in the school play, as well as the girl (Larson), who thinks most men are jerks.

This is a revamp, with all the expected modern elements, of an old TV series which first brought Johnny Depp to the attention of the American public (it wasn't much seen over here); a couple of the original alumni make cameo appearances at the end of this one, and at least ensure they don't have to appear in another...

To be fair, the format, basically pretty unlikely in the first place, adapts itself well enough to comedy; the action scenes are predictable but handled OK, and the comedy fast and furious if not, to my mind, very funny. The stars (also exec producers) come on a bit cloyingly with the buddy-buddy stuff, although Tatum does engagingly guy his own image. Kemper is also fun as the the teacher who gets hot flushes just looking at Tatum's hunk, in a formula comedy romp that gives you just about what you'll expect.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia/MGM). Colour by deluxe.
113 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 11 Mar 2012