This movie is an adolescent spinoff of Superbad. The idea to base a contemporaneous high school movie off a late 80's - early 90's TV show in which current teenagers were just being born is axiomatically a bad idea. However, most teens that view this won't much care - they saw a trailer that appeals to their funny bone with a couple faces they know, so they venture out to see if it lives up to the preview - maybe thats what we all do albeit with a little more anticipation of the abysmal. Still I would have to hit myself and remember the tried and true aphorism, "don't judge a book by it's cover." In this case, ironically, that may have been the proper route to take as this film was quite awful.
Nearly all the humor felt contrived and irritating. I laughed multiple times throughout but it always was more of an autonomous reaction rather than of heartfelt veracity. A few clever moments appeared now and then but they overused these comic devices to their own ennui. I believe humor to work because of timing, presence, character and subject matter. Also, I would suggest that if you have to try to be a comedian then most likely you shouldn't be one. It really is a job(for lack of a better word) that should be done if it is completely natural to your own being and character. When Steven Wright gets on stage you laugh before he even says a word and that goes for many of the greatest stand-ups of all time like Sam Kinison, Richard Pryor and others. There is an energy that should be palpable; every comedian needs to get his start and most likely won't be great immediately but other than someone like Andy Kaufman, I think it's safe to assume you will immediately recognize the innate talent. I'm spewing here and may very well be dead wrong but my point is that nothing in this so-called comedy provides great characters, great natural presence and especially not new or great subject matter. Unlike Project X, which felt like a refreshing hilarious take on all the same subjects, 21 Jump Street keeps hopping around energetically and landing flat on it's face in the street. I'll let you guess the number of times.
Recommended Viewing: Weird Science, Dazed and Confused, Fast Times At Ridgemont High
Bob Scale: Objective: 5.5 - Subjective: 6.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 87