The trailer for American Pie: The Reunion that preceded this movie had its audience spot on: this is for kids who grew up on nineties and noughties high school dramas.
The joy in 21 Jump Street is that it’s the first teen movie not to be a ‘teen movie’ of old. It doesn’t parody but makes (scarily) subtle comparisons between the high school culture of yore and the attitude of school kids in the past few years. In one stomach-clenchingly funny ‘we have our audience down to a T’ line, Channing Tatum’s character remarks ‘I blame Glee’. The one strap / two strap backpack issue also comes up. So simple, so genious.
Speaking of Channing Tatum, he is still inexplicably handsome in his gruff young Daniel Craig way.
And, much as I’m loathe to enjoy Jonah Hill after some crass remarks he made in an interview (at the expense of the adorable Michael Cera), the boy can write and I couldn’t help but warm to him in his skater jeans.
It’s crude but you’ll laugh out loud. I hate slapstick but I couldn’t help myself. If the idea of Eminem opening the soundtrack to a film makes you a little fuzzy inside, watch this movie.
What I loved most though was it touched on the whole ‘popular’ label in school in a way no on really has. The 90s films had the dumb jocks and cheerleaders with the underdog triumphing in the end, then Glee took it to an extreme. In 21 Jump Street, Tatum who used to be the popular kid, doesn’t understand how the cool crowd in 2012 are the guys who care about the environment and their education. But they’re still a little bit arrogant and a little bit judgey. I guess the message that seems to get fed out that ‘it doesn’t matter if you’re popular’ never sat too comfortably with me. Because being popular means people like you, and that’s usually because you a decent person who people like spending time with. You won’t be perfect but you must be doing something right. Some stereotypes will exist to a limited extent – there will be people who ‘buy’ friends, but I think most people have always, and will always see through that.
Basically you can be clever, and be a dick and you can be stupid and be a dick. I don’t think being ‘popular’ has anything to do with what kind of person you are.
(And if anything, it has more to do with the people around you).
Featured image credit: Sony Pictures