The traditional comedy actor isn’t even the best thing about 21 Jump Street. The two best actors in the whole film are actually Channing Tatum and Ice Cube. Jonah Hill is very good and delivers the lines well, throws himself into the physical aspects of the story very well but he is surpassed by his two co-stars.
Channing Tatum used this movie to catapult his acting credentials above eye-candy and rom-com leading man. Combine this with Magic Mike and we get a very different actor from the man in Dear John or GI:Joe. He delivers the lines excellently, plays-up his image and manages to smash pre-conceptions with the performance he gives. The biggest success of 21 Jump Street is the showcase of Tatum’s talents.
The second biggest success of the movie is Ice Cube. There is a reason that his part is beefed up in the sequel and that is because he delivers every line with a cool, aggressive attitude that can’t be matched. Ice Cube will never be the convincing leading man that he probably wants to be but while he can play this kind of character, it won’t matter. In fact, looking back at the movie, Ice Cube gets the best lines of film. He is hardly in the movie but delivers the most quotable lines and the moments that stick out afterwards.
The movie as a whole is packed full of jokes and funny moments. It is a consistently funny film with a joke rate above and beyond. It is very self-aware and it does know that it’s plot is paper-thin with a stretch in credibility but it also knows exactly what it has to do to succeed, going really extreme and playing to it’s strengths.
That strength is of course the “bromance” between Tatum and Hill which really makes this movie so watch-able. The way they bounce of each other, play with each others dialogue and deliver great moments, be it action or straight comedy. Add this to a great role-reversal at the centre of the movie and you can soon see why this film works so effectively.
The film has now spawned a very successful, very funny sequel and whether the chemistry can be matched and maintained is yet to be seen. You can see a very good foundation for a decent franchise has been laid here and as long as the decent ideas are there, I can’t see why there couldn’t be at least a third.
Overall, Channing Tatum is the big star of 21 Jump Street and the surprise package. He delivers a comedy performance that most people won’t have realised he had in him before they saw this film. Add to that a great support by Ice Cube who steals the movie with his minimal scenes and you have comedy gold. The rest of the film deliver comedically too and I actually want to see a third Jump Street
Rating – 4.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)