21 Jump Street is Sorta Kinda Worth Seeing: Here’s the deal: everyone laughed (and not in the good way) when they heard that Jonah Hill’s 21 Jump Street reboot would have its premiere at SXSW four days before its nationwide rollout. This is a fest for indies, goddamit! We’re hear to see heart-rending tales about reuniting with lost parents or putting puppies to sleep; quirky romances and gore-tastic slashers. But a bro-mantic reboot? Gimme a break.
Turns out it was a brilliant move by Columbia Pictures’ marketing department because this crowd is absolutely smitten with the film, and we’re telling the world about it. Sorry, starving filmmaker who maxed out three credit cards over six years to get here, we’re going to cover the glossy Hollywood picture because, well, it’s good!
The best way to explain what makes the film such a charmer is with an anecdote Jonah Hill shared at the Q & A after the premiere. He recounted his agent calling him up years ago to suggest turning the forgotten television series into a movie. His response was something to the effect of, “That’s the stupidest fucking idea I’ve ever heard.” That cavalier attitude runs deep throughout the irreverent comedy. There is even a line of dialogue in there that admits the powers that be have run out of ideas….
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller smoothly enter the world of live-action filmmaking (their last film was Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs). It’s perhaps no surpise that the guys who violently rained oversized steak dinners on unsuspecting Atlantic islanders would make a film filled to the brim with excess. It is, in a word, ridiculous. There are out of place explosions, talking ice-cream cones, and deaths and dismemberments that will have you rolling in the aisles, and you’ll quickly lose count of the expletives….
I often wonder whether or not we find much to love in a film like this because the bar has been lowered so far that anything that makes us titter is worthy of praise. But you know what? F--- that. I laughed my ass off at 21 Jump Street and the Austin crowd loved it too. It’s about damn time someone cheered us up at the movies.