Phil Lord, Chris Miller
21 JUMP STREET’s self-comparison to “BAD BOYS meets John Hughes” is surprisingly accurate. It’s definitely a high school comedy first, but there’s a decent amount of smart action in it. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller do an admirable job their first time handling live action, poking good-natured fun at the genre while still giving us the requisite car chases (or limo chases) and explosions.
There have been numerous movies made about people getting a second chance at high school, but the real reason this film works is the smart writing and smarter cast. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have fantastic chemistry together and are perfectly suited for the odd couple pairing. Hill provides his usual shtick (except skinnier) but Tatum proves that not only does he have charisma as an actor, but he’s also equipped with serious comedic sensibilities. It’s really not fair. He knows he has something to prove and he gives the role his all. (His scene in the band room is all the proof you need.) Also legitimately great in this movie is Ice Cube. As the stereotypical angry black police captain, every line out of Cube’s mouth is hilarious. And yes, I’ve now praised Channing Tatum AND Ice Cube in the same movie and I’m not joking.
The movie respects the 21 JUMP STREET story (if that’s important to you) while updating it appropriately for modern times. It’s a pretty genius idea that the “cool” kids now are smart, eco-friendly teens who like comic books, not dumb jocks. Most of the big jokes in the film work well, but it’s the little stuff that are more memorable and lends itself to multiple rewatches—things like Korean Jesus, Hill’s baby pictures, and Tatum’s nerdy tendencies. Plus, the film’s big cameo is a lot of fun.
Commentary by directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and actors Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum: All four are very funny and have a great rapport together so you can definitely expect some laughs (at high speed too). However, it goes for entertainment more than informative, so if for some reason were looking to learn all about the movie you’re better off checking out some of the other special features.
Deleted Scenes (29:30): There are 20 scenes total here, with about half an hour worth of new material. (Though a bunch offer alternate and extended takes.) There’s more of the pair back in high school, more Ice Cube and the rest of the 21 Jump Street officers, the full scene of Tatum in the band room and you get the fate of two characters revealed.
Gag Reel (4:59): Pretty standard stuff, though you get to see Ron Swanson being Ron Swanson .
Cube_O-Rama (1:51): A quick montage of the former rapper’s greatest lines from the movie and alternate takes.
Back to School (7:41): This is your traditional BTS featurette covering the history of the project, from what attracted Jonah to it to production and more. Rob Riggle makes a Master Blaster reference from MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME.
Johnny Depp On Set (4:42): A history of Depp’s involvement in trying to be in the movie and some footage and interviews covering his time on the set. Definitely a fun time.
Brothers in Arms (6:18): A focus on the pairing of Tatum and Jonah, their chemistry and some footage of how they behave on set. “That was the first take of fingering each other’s mouths”
The Rob Riggle Show (9:24): I didn’t mention Riggle, but he is definitely a funny, welcome presence in the film (though playing his usual “POW!” d-bag role.) This featurette chronicles Jonah Hill’s crush on him and Riggle’s crush on Tatum, with more great lines and riffing.
Peter Pan on the Freeway (4:12): A specific look at the highway action scene and Jonah Hill in his embarrassing costume.
Also, Previews and an UltraViolet digital copy.
Extra Tidbit: Having “Straight Outta Compton” played in a movie where Ice Cube plays a cop seems so right, yet so wrong.