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School for scoundrels?

movie-reviews Updated: Apr 21, 2012 00:16 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

21 Jump Street
Direction: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum
Rating: **


They're an odd couple alright. Foes at high school, they turn into friends seven years later when they join the police force. One (Hill, squandering the goodwill he earned with last year's Moneyball) is the brainy sort who can't even summon up the nerve to ask a girl for a prom date. By contrast, the other (Tatum) is brawny but tends to get carried away.

Adapted from the late-1980s television series which launched the career of the then little-known actor Johnny Depp, 21 Jump Street strives - not too successfully - to strike a balance between high school hi-jinks and buddy-buddy cop comedy.

You blink in disbelief as the rookie law-keepers are assigned back to school as undercover student brothers. Their mission: root out the drug dealers who peddle their wares to their classmates.

After the mandatory bouts of bickering, our heroes have to contend with burly bikers, goons and nefarious teachers till it's time to blow the baddie brigade.

The direction by Lord and Miller, who helmed the animated romp Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, is slapdash. The homophobic and genital gags are unwarranted. Distressingly still, all the women come across asbimbos. Not surprisingly, Johnny Depp appears in a cameo. At best, the big-screen reboot makes for a comme ci, comme ca matinee.