21 Jump Street (2012)

Sure, this is based on the 1987–91 television series of the same name by Stephen J. Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh, but I was amazed by how much I loved this movie. It takes that concept, goes crazy and pushes every teen movie cliche as far as it can take it.

In 2005, Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) are denied access to their prom, with Schmidt rejected and Jenko’s grades keeping him away. Years later, they meet again at police academy and somehow become best friends and eventually bike patrol partners. Their first arrest, a drug bust, goes bad when Greg forgets the Miranda rights.

The team is reassigned to the Jump Street team, which infiltrates high schools with undercover agents under the command of Captain Dickson (Ice Cube).

There’s a drug at Sagan High School called HFS that has been killing students, so Morton and Greg get new identities and learn that society has changed. Everything that made Greg popular is now frowned upon, so his only friends are the geeks. Morton is now popular and fast friends with Eric (Dave Franco), who is creating the drugs.

Can the guys catch the criminals? Will Morton fall in love with Eric’s girlfriend Molly (Brie Larson)? Will they throw a massive drug fueled party? Of course. But getting there is so much fun, as this is a movie that doesn’t take itself or its subject matter seriously.

There are some great supporting actors here, from Rob Riggle as a gym teacher to Chris Parnell as a drama teacher, Ellie Kemper as a science teacher, Dakota Johnson as a fellow Jump Street team member and Nick Offerman as the Deputy Chief. If you loved the original show, good news. All of the original cast, except Richard Grieco and Dustin Nguyen, appear in cameo roles.

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