Cast: Jonah Hill,Channing Tatum,Brie Larson
Directors: Phil Lord,Chris Miller
Indian Express Ratings: *1/2
The ’80s TV show on which this movie is based is most famous for launching the career of Johnny Depp. It’s not going to do anything similar for its two main leads here,Hill and Tatum,who go through the inanities of high school without actually being high school students,in a film that doesn’t know where to centre its centre.
One explosion,a car chase,an abusive police captain and an arrest scene involving the two thrusting their pelvics in the face of a person they are holding prostrate make this a cop film. A party where everything goes,a clueless principal,a horny teacher and a Peter Pan (what else?) play make it about high school.
Hill,who was so good in Moneyball,doesn’t try anything that would place this film somewhere in the middle (he also co-wrote the story). Tatum,in fact,does better in the deadpan department. When they are cops,Hill and Tatum are among the worst. When they are students,on undercover duty,they are as irresponsible as they come. The film does try to be somewhat smart when Hill and Tatum,the nerd and the jock in high school,find roles reversed in their second outing as cops. They also find the definition of coolness changed — it’s good now to care for something and to be tolerant and it doesn’t hurt to be effortlessly good in studies.
However,the film disappointingly then falls back on all high school film cliches. Drugs and death are carelessly thrown about even as a ‘Korean Jesus’ points the way out in a church on 21 Jump Street,where this undercover operation is headquartered. Except for a woman in orange hair that could pass off for anything Oriental,let me clarify,the Koreans have nothing to do with it.