Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rated D - 21 Jump Street

Much like the majestic grizzlies of my wife's homeland, the Big D must occasionally take a movie hibernation due to the poor selection of films that are released during the awards show season and just shortly after. Since I decided to go see a movie instead of reading that book on bears, I'm going to assume confidently that this is also the reason bears hibernate.

Welcome Back to Another Jumpin' Edition of Rated D!

Two weeks ago, Erika and I went to see a movie called "21 Jump Street". SPOILER ALERT: Two baby-faced, loose-cannon cops are implanted into a high school to infiltrate the synthetic drug ring run by the cool kids on campus.

"Everything old is new again..." It really doesn't matter whether or not you've seen the original 80s TV show of the same name that gave Johnny Depp his start. As is the case with most of these remakes like "S.W.A.T." or "Miami Vice", it's almost completely unnecessary to even mention that you are updating a popular classic. Still, studios keep on hitting and missing and I was pleasantly surprised to find a hit with "21 Jump Street". To recap, a nerdy, Eminem-wannabe, named Schmidt, played by the always hilarious Jonah Hill (Moneyball, Superbad), and a "dumb" jock, bully, named Jenko, played by Channing Tatum (GI Joe, Stop-Loss) meet up seven years out of high school at Police Academy. Using each others strengths, they develop a brother-like friendship and help each other succeed. After getting in to some trouble, they wind up in an undercover program whose headquarters are located, where else, but 36 Jump Street... wait a minute... that's not right...?

The foul language and odd-ball comedy kicks right into high gear and somehow maintains throughout the rest of the flick. Jonah Hill, who co-wrote the screenplay, continues to serve up his brand of straightfaced, monotone one-liners and high-intensity rants that caught our attention in 2007's Superbad. Although his performance as the shy, brainy Peter Brand in Moneyball was one of last year's highlight performances, it's still fun to see him do what he does so well. Channing Tatum wins you over as well as the guy who has skirted by on good looks and charm but has a little something more beneath the surface. His usual rom-com and crappy action movie cliches go on the shelf as he delivers a pretty funny performance along side Hill and his group of geeky, science club pals.

Some hilarious cameos from Rob Riggle (Killers, The Hangover) as the over-enthused gym teacher, Jake M. Johnson (Get Him to the Greek, No Strings Attached) as the sarcastic, no-nonsense principal, and Nick Offerman (Sin City, TV's Park & Rec) basically playing Police Chief Ron Swanson round out the rest of movie.

Unlike most comedies that I've been seeing lately, it doesn't run on too long and doesn't really get lost or bogged down, trying to be something that it's not. All in all, it's the same old buddy cop, bromance story so don't be expecting much else in that department, but if you're looking for some fun dialogue and wacky comedy-action sequences, you'll definitely find them down on "21 Jump Street".

RecommenDation - 4 out of 5 - Good for Fun Night

D's List

This Week's List... TV Remakes!

Movies Based on Old TV Shows

1. Charlie's Angels (2000) - So maybe I can't fairly review this flick since I never watched the TV series, but I feel that I'd be correct in assuming that someone stumbled upon the brilliant realization that millions of people would go see a movie with Drew Barrymore in full leather body suit and Cameron Diaz having her first scene in a bikini and filling time in the second scene jumping on the bed and dancing in her underwear. It was definitely a girl power movie, but it didn't have the power to be... uh... good.

2. Bewitched (2005) - No, no, no, no, no, no. Not funny. No. The plot was somewhat innovative by attempting to having Nicole Kidman play a "real" witch who winds up getting involved in a remake of Bewitched. Really not funny, no, no. The best thing about this movie was the joke it inspired on Family Guy where Stewie watches the movie, flies to LA, purchases a ladder, goes to Will Ferrell's house, rings the bell, climbs the ladder, and punches him in the face when he opens the door as he screams "That's not funny!" And it's true. No. Not funny.

3. Serenity (2005) - Based on the shortlived sci-fi show Firefly, this Space Western was actually pretty awesome. Great characters and clever script keep this film both fun and exciting with action-packed fight scenes and clever dialogue.

4. Maverick (1994) - Once upon a time there was a charming Aussie actor that everyone loved who died tragically after driving drunk... or at least his career did. But before Mel Gibson began raising an army against himself by attacking one ethnic group after another, he had a pretty great career which included this gem. Filled with great character performances and fun cameos this unoffensive gambling comedy leaps from one obstacle to the next on the way to the steamboat poker game finale.

5. Starsky & Hutch (2004) - This movie was less about paying homage to the original and more about Director Todd Philips of The Hangover and Road Trip fame and the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson duo having really good time... and strangely, it worked. If you really don't look for anything except some ridiculous comedy, you'll have... NO NO! NO BEWITCHED! IT ISN'T FUNNY!... Whoops! Bewitched was so bad it just broke into another movie's review.... anywho, you'll have a good time with this one. From the coked up dance off to the ten year old knife thrower attack, this is one silly scene tied to another, but I wasn't let down.

Still Haven't Seen It?

Puss In Boots - The beloved, wide-eyed, well-dressed tabby made famous by the Shrek films is back to tell his origin story in this delightful film by Dreamworks. As always, Puss is voiced by Antonio Banderas (Desperado, Assassins), once again joined by Salma Hayek (Fools Rush In, From Dusk Til Dawn) who voices the master thief "Kitty Soft Paws". As usual, lots of fun fairytale twists including the story of Puss's childhood friendship turned betrayal with none other than Humpty Dumpty, voiced by Zach Galifianakis (Out Cold, Due Date).

Next Time on Rated D -

The Hunger Games - A dystopian, panem et circenses North America starring Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, and Wes Bentley's beard.

-Gorilla Man

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