The concept of old TV shows being turned into feature-length films is no new practice for filmmakers. Audiences have seen countless examples over the years like "Charlie's Angels," "Dukes of Hazard" and "The A-Team." While many of these movies capture the original spark of their source material, very few branch out with new ideas to make a name all their own. But "21 Jump Street" has seemingly broken this trend through its comedic take of undercover cops in the modern high school of America.
What was once a show that helped Johnny Depp make his mark in Hollywood could be considered just another stepping stone of success for the two lead actors, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. As officers Schmidt and Jenko, Hill and Tatum make an on-screen duo that creates the right blend of humor, attitude and stupidity needed for any successful action comedy, especially one that takes place in high school.
When Schmidt and Jenko are assigned to find the supplier of a new synthetic drug, the duo combine their knowledge of "cool" etiquette with the hardships of being a geek and attempt to navigate the landscape of high school, although it is not quite the same as they remember it. As two immature slackers who never seemed to get past the failures or successes of high school, Schmidt and Jenko prove that even a badge and gun won't make the experience any easier the second time around. As they make their way through the ranting of a crazy captain, run-ins with biker gangs and AP Chemistry class, these two inexperienced officers discover what their true priorities are.
Based on a show that was used as a means of delivering public service announcements, the film is a far cry from its predecessor by relying on the popular aspects of action comedy such as sex, drugs and explosions. What used to be a procedural crime drama about two cops trying to make a difference in the American school system has turned into a non-stop laugh fest about two incompetent rookie cops trying to make a name for themselves. Despite the difference in format, audiences everywhere seem to love the new "21 Jump Street" as evidenced by a no. 1 spot at the box office and worldwide total gross of $42 million.
Christopher Spall can be reached at Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org.