On paper, the notion of rebooting teen-centric 1980s TV series 21 Jump Street as the basis for a movie boasting a cast of recognizable stars sounded creatively bankrupt, but directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller knew that full well and used it to their advantage.
Reinvented as a broad, raucous, R-rated studio comedy, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum were the ideal foils for each other as Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko, two rookie officers with a high school history that were forced to go undercover and relive the experience from a completely new angle.
Throw in Ice Cube as the typically-angry police captain, a slew of notable guest appearances and some whip-smart writing that tore the entire subgenre to shreds while also lovingly embracing it, any you’ve got yourself a recipe for major success. 21 Jump Street was a critical and commercial smash hit, earning over $200 million at the box office and going down a storm with fans and critics alike.
The sequel was almost as good, but it’s a real shame we’ll never get to see the bonkers-sounding Men in Black crossover MiB23, which would have been official canon for both franchises. 21 Jump Street is now streaming on Netflix, though, where it makes for ideal viewing when you want to kick back and have fun for a couple of hours.