MOVIE: 21 Jump Street (2012)

Sorry I haven’t been around much, folks.  Lots of vacationy things going on, plus I just got a new kitten (Otis!), thus upping the number of uber-needy felines in the household to a whopping TWO.  This hasn’t left much room for seeing movies, let alone writing about them.  But while I’m behind on three flick reviews and three books (not to mention 6 Boyfriend write-ups, yeesh), I’m hoping to get caught up at least on the reviews over the next few days, so stick around.

While at my parents’ house last week setting up their new Roku box (a gadget that lets you stream Netflix movies and other online content to your TV set), I somehow accidentally managed to hit the wrong button twice in a row on their remote, which turned out to be the exact number of times you need to hit that button in order to order a Pay-Per-View movie.  WHOOPS!

Even worse? The movie I accidentally ordered was THIS ONE.  WHOOPS, AGAIN!

Being the cheapskates we are, not to mention the big suckers for dumb movies, my sister, mom, brother-in-law, and I decided we might as well watch the thing, now that we’d paid for it (or, more specifically, now that Mom had paid for it — sorry, Mom!). Surprisingly enough, though, this incredibly inane flick actually ended up having a few truly funny moments, not to mention a couple of delightful cameos we hadn’t been expecting and were dorkily excited to see.

I laughed out loud more than once, and even though the actual plot was tedious and unoriginal, not to mention an element of the film the writer clearly thought was secondary to the slapstick, it wasn’t unbearably stupid.  Just kind of ridiculously so.

This movie has one serious, serious problem, though (as well as, of course, about a thousand less-serious ones), and that is the incredibly unnecessary overuse of foul language.  You might assume this only bothered me because I was watching it with my mother — and that’s a fair guess, for sure — but even if I hadn’t been sitting next to the same woman who has only used one curse word in her entire life (though, granted, she’s used it often — the word is “shit” and usually comes out like this:  “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!” right as the dishwasher floods the entire kitchen), I would still have been annoyed by the bigoted gay sex jokes and the 10,291-times-too-many uses of the word “dick.”

Even worse, though, is the insult every audience member ought to feel every time a comedy writer assumes we’re so dumb the only thing that will make us laugh is stupid genital and poop humor (or, worse, gential-and-poop humor — gah, forget I mentioned that).  Granted, most members of Mensa probably didn’t run right out to see this flick, but as cheesy as the original 21 Jump Street TV series was, it was also extremely sincere — laughably so at times, granted, but sincere nonetheless.  To me, even a silly comedy-style remake held some promise in concept, if only because the problems of today’s youth would likely be so similar to the problems of yesterday’s, only with a whole new set of complications to explore (text message bullying, for example).

But they totally blew it here by loading the thing up with jokes more suited to 8 year-olds (except for the homophobia, which is more suited to NOBODY, for pity’s sake — what IS the deal with men being so damn squeamish about penises in their mouths, by the way? GET A GRIP, BOYS.).  There was plenty of room for a smarter plot, even with two morons as protagonists, and certainly room for more solid jokes — the cameos that came at the end, for example, featured a hilarious degree of comic-book violence that you knew the actors had requested themselves (“Sure, I’ll be in your movie, but only if I get to have my original character be SHOT TO PIECES in a melodramatic shoot-out AT LONG LAST, MY GOD.”).  But neither of these things were there, leaving me unsatisfied and hoping somebody pulls a The Amazing Spider-Man on this movie in about five years.  So much potential so wasted here.  I hate it when that happens.

Luckily, we watched The Artist the next night, which helped wash the crud from this film out of our ears (ah, blessed silence!).  Incidentally, that one stands up wonderfully even on the small screen (and since we’re talking about my mom’s ancient boob tube, I mean the REALLY small screen), and didn’t fail to sweep me off my feet just as completely the second time around as it had the first.

And so, to recap:

21 Jump Street — worth a rental if you were a schmoopy teenager making goo-goo eyes over Johnny Depp (or, for me, Peter DeLuise) when the original was on. 

The Artist:  worth a rental if you are currently alive on the planet Earth.

[Netflix it | Don’t Buy It, Knucklehead]

Genre:  Comedy
Cast:  Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, DeRay Davis, Ice Cube, Dax Flame, Chris Parnell, Ellie Kemper

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One Response to “MOVIE: 21 Jump Street (2012)”

  1. Liz Says:

    Now Meg – this kitten who’s name is “Otis” – he wasn’t named after that character from “The Devil’s Rejects,” was he? (Lizzie’s “trashcan brain” strikes again!)

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