I never watched the television show 21 Jump Street when it came out in the late 80s, nor in reruns. I knew it starred a cute little actress - Holly Robinson (Peete) - but that wasn't enough to even garner a peek.


It was about an undercover police unit that would target youth crimes. they would take their youthful appearance an infiltrate schools, gangs and such. It sounded too much like an old show I did watch in my youth... The Mod Squad from the late 60s and early 70s. It lasted as long as it could because eventually the stars get older and can't pull off that youthful look - even with the greates make-up artist in Hollywood. The Mod Squad lasted 123 episodes and 21 Jump Street lasted 98.


The end result was the emergence of a young Johnny Depp as a future super star and Holly Robinson blossoming to - a career of television shows. They grew older and the show ended. But keep in mind that the television show was a drama - as it were - with a few humorous undertones. But not a lot of humor.

Now comes Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in a Phil Lord and Chris Miller directed farce that takes nothing seriously. They are Schmidt and Jenko, two guys who went to high school together and are reunited as 20-somethings who are trying to get on the police force.


They help each other out as Jenko (Tatum) is the physically fit but dumber than a box of rocks half while Schmidt (Hill) is the brainy out of shape half. Togethre they improve each other just enough to make the force.


As uniformed cops they are total failures, even more inept than the Keystone Kops or more recently "The Other Guys". But they are given a chance to succeed when they are folded into a undercover assignment to infiltrate the local high school and bring down the bad element that has also infiltrated the school.

They are lead by tough talking Captain Dickson who instructs them to be themselves which the immediately screw up when Schmidt comes off as the cool jock and Jengo the nerd.


They are also taken aback by how the school has changed in the few short years since they attended. The kids, even the drug dealers, are more passive and socially conscious than when Jengo and Schmidt were there.


But the one thing that doesn't change is the big party where everything will go down.


Ironically, Michael Bacall is the screenwriter; he is the screenwriter on the recently released "Project X". Though they are like night and day, the big party scene pretty much remains the same.


The big difference is of course better talent and a better premise. There is even homage to Holly Robinson Peete as she reprises her role as a much older Officer Judy Hoffs. And yes, even Johnny depp makes a cameo as a much older Officer Tom Hanson.


"21 Jump Street" is as funny as you can imagine a Jonah Hill film can be. He and Channing Tatum are the perfect odd couple poking fun but honoring a story that can take the hit.   -- GEOFF BURTON