Release date: March 16, 2012
Directed by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Screenplay by: Michael Bacall
Story by: Michael Bacall & Jonah Hill
Based on the television series by: Patrick Hasburgh & Stephen J. Cannell
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Ice Cube
Running Time: 109 minutes
If they don’t send flowers, the filmmakers of 21 Jump Street should at least write heartfelt thank you notes to the creators of such television-to-film remakes as Bewitched, The Dukes of Hazzard and The Flintstones. Because next to these born-again bombs, 21 Jump Street is nothing short of terrific.
Even more surprising: Michael Bacall, screenwriter of the imbecilic Project X, delivers a decidedly funny script that occasionally dips beneath its silly surface, exploring the friendship and frailties of the two rookie cops who hope to earn high grades at their undercover high school job … um, once they’ve turned their homework in on time.
For those of you who are either too young to have seen it – or too old to remember – the original 1987-91 series was the brainchild of the late Stephen J. Cannell, prolific creator of such TV staples as The Rockford Files, The A-Team and Wiseguy. (Though the series is only one of many that Cannell created, it will forever be associated with its lead protagonist, nascent superstar Johnny Depp.) Both the old series and the new film are centered around the concept that two rookie cops, who look young enough to have to show their IDs when buying a six-pack, will be able to infiltrate a teen campus and bust its underground drug ring.
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Rating on a score of 5 Double Depps: 3