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21 Jump Street: Ridiculously Fun & Hilarious Action Comedy
A purely emotional review of this film would consist of a lot of uppercase letters, a bunch of acronyms, hell yeahs, plenty of celebratory swear words and a positive slew of exclamation marks. However, we do have to be a bit more articulate than that, so here goes.
While 21 Jump Street may not be the ’best film ever’, it’s definitely the most fun we’ve had in the cinema this year – by a long shot. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play Schmidt and Jenko; a quintessential high school nerd and dumb jock, respectively. The duo manages to get over their mutual high school hatred of each other and bond in the Police Academy where they soon become partners and best friends. Due to their youthful appearances and highly immature ways, they’re stationed as undercover policemen in a high school where a new drug is going round; one that’s already resulted in the death of a student. Their assignment is to infiltrate the dealers and find the supplier before the drug spreads to any of the other schools. On their first day undercover though, they find that high school has completely changed. Nerds are now in, dumb jocks are out and the partners find themselves navigating through completely different high school experiences than their first time around.
What makes this film so much fun to watch is that Hill and Tatum are plainly having a ton of fun onscreen. The story is basically about two dorks who, despite their training in the Police Academy, still harbour a fantasy that being a policeman involves a ton of car chases, explosions and gunfights. They’re fundamentally immature and seem to think Die Hard is an accurate portrayal of an officer’s day to day life, but their attitude is infectious and watching the film is a rather exhilarating experience. The duo play off of each other perfectly; their comedic timing is impeccable and their relationship is so cute that at times, it’s touching. The film also has a solid supporting cast with Dave Franco as an eco-friendly drug dealer, Ice Cube as a pissed-off commanding officer, and a surprise cameo that is just too awesome to spoil!
The film isn’t just a comedy though, it has some pretty sweet action sequences as well. We get car chases, explosions, fist fights and shoot-outs galore. And despite the amount of action in the film, it’s doesn’t feel superfluous in anyway; it really manages to balance the fast pace action and humour – bringing out characters that you really end up caring for and sympathising with.
In conclusion, just go see it. It’s a ton of fun and it’s worth both your time and your money.
Almost shockingly predictable and seemingly unaware of its own inescapability, The Boy Next Door – penned by the first-time feature writer, Barbara Curry – is a film you’ve seen a thousand times before. Lacking originality or any sense of awareness, this latest not-as-erotic-as-you-might-think thriller is just as painful as its much-too-revealing trailer suggests.
Directed by the Fast and Furious’ Rob Cohen and produced by JLO herself, the story is centred on suburban high-school teacher, Claire Peterson (Lopez) who’s dealing with a broken heart caused by her now estranged husband, Garrett’s (Corbett), recent infidelity.
Trying to put the heartache behind her, Claire tries to focus on her work as a literature teacher and her son, Kevin (Nelson) – who is still very much fond of his absent father. Her troubles, however, are soon put to the side when she meets a very handsome next-door neighbour, Noah Sandborn (Guzman); a nineteen-year old orphan who has just moved in to take care of his sickly great uncle.
At first, Claire is welcoming – as any mom would be – and she even begins to encourage the idea of Kevin hanging out with their new neighbour. However, her niceness soon gives Noah the courage he needs to escalate their flirty relationship to a whole new level. After having spent one steamy night with the young man, it doesn’t take long for Claire to realise that she’s made a mistake. Unfortunately for her, Noah doesn’t feel the same and he will do everything in his power to let her know that.
There is very little here that sets The Boy Next Door apart from any of the other similarly plotted thrillers – see Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, Single White Female - that have gone on to explore – indisputably to a much, much better effect – the subjects of seduction and obsession. In fact, everything about the story feels familiar and worn-out. There’s little-to-no suspense, the plot is weighed down by clunky dialogue and the film’s constant tonal shifting doesn’t help its already weak premise.
Guzman, whose portrayal of an obsessive psychopath resembles something you see in a Spanish telanovela, doesn’t click, while JLO – who doesn’t look a day over 35 – seems a little lost with this one and not even her usual charming ways – not to be confused with acting abilities – could have saved this mess of a film.
Justin Reardon’s feature-length directorial debut, Playing it Cool, sees an attempt at bring some freshness and originality to the rom-com genre falling into the same old clichés.
Dreaming of one day becoming a successful action screenwriter, the main character of the piece – simply referred to as ‘Narrator’ and played by Chris Evans – isn’t all that enthusiastic about being handed the task of scripting a romantic comedy. See, he’s never been in love – a side-effect from his mother’s abandonment when he was only a young boy – and therefore, he’s unable to see himself writing something that he ‘doesn’t believe in’.
Enter ‘Her’ (Monaghan); a beautiful young woman he meets at a charity event. Sparks fly and he is instantly smitten; however, she’s already engaged to be married to handsome and aloof Brit, ‘Stuffy’ (Gruffudd). Powerless to get her out of his mind – a place filled with a vivid, and often dramatic, writer’s imagination – emotions soon spiral out of control and, well, you know the rest.
Desperately trying to swerve away from the lovely-dovey trappings of the genre, Playing it Cool is the kind of film that’s really difficult to pin-down. Is it a rom-com parody? Or, is it just another movie that begins by dismissing the very notion of romance before eventually falling into the very hole it’s been trying to avoid from the beginning? We’ll go for the latter. Already drawing comparison to movies such as Amelie and 500 Days of Summer – a notion that’s awfully difficult to grasp to begin with – the story lacks the charm, focus and the overall substance that made the aforementioned movies the cinematic success they are.
In fairness, though, the two leads do share some genuine onscreen chemistry; however, the movie’s relatively unexciting script is not smart, strong -or creative enough to take advantage of the fact. Monaghan is the stronger of the two; her charm is infectious and it’s easy to see why any guy would fall for her while Evans, who just doesn’t seem right for the role, tries his best to stick it out. However, just like the story itself, he just doesn’t seem comfortable in his own skin – stick to being Captain America.
Essentially, the problem here is that this is a film that tries too hard to be unique, quirky, ironically, doesn’t play it cool one bit.