Nostalgia and bromance
Back when Johnny Depp actually was in his late twenties, instead of just looking it, the part that brought him all those others was that of Officer Hanson in a popular US series: 21 Jump Street, young cops working undercover in high schools to investigate drugs, hate crimes, child abuse, etc. The series had a huge following, including director Phil Lord, who has teamed up again with college bud Christopher Miller for this feature film venture down memory lane. Except that it really isn’t.
The gravitas of the late 1980s/early 1990s has gone (what price irony with all that hair), and with it went Depp’s special blend of caring cool. In its place we have post-postmodern irreverence and the currently ubiquitous Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Jenko and Schmidt: fresh faced cop-buds checkin’ out the use of a potentially lethal synthetic drug at – where else – their old high school.
An administrative glitch cleverly reverses their old stereotypical lives (and that of their off-screen images), so that podgy Schmidt gets to play school jock whilst a very buff Jenko mimes the science nerd. Once expectations have fallen just under the watermark on the school loo, it feels okay to sit back and relax into a pretty bromance between Schmidt and Jenko, some zippy action/ dialogue and a modicum of plot, as well as decent support provided by Franco brother Dave and Ice Cube.
21 Jump Street | Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller (USA 2012) with Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube. Starts May 10