[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] 21 [/dropcap] Jump Street is the latest Jonah Hill adventure, which he co-wrote with Michael Bacall, who’s clearly on a hot streak like Hill with credits for Scott Pilgrim and the controversial Project X. It’s the story of a couple of young cops who get sent back to high school undercover to break up a drug ring. Naturally, they reverse roles from what they were like in high school with Hill hanging with the cool in crowd (now more green than Fonzi) and his partner, Channing Tatum hanging with the tech nerds. It’s a fairly classic take-off on the original 21 Jump Street TV show that launched Johnny Depp. Nevertheless, it has lots to work with and Hill and Tatum do not disappoint.
Hill and Tatum get assigned to a covert drug squad headed by……Ice Cube. Brie Larson plays Hills love interest…..to go to the prom he never got to go to in high school. One of the funnier foils is the high school track coach played by Rob Riggle. They even found a spot for James Franco’s younger brother, Dave…..as the leader of the Eco-cool crowd.
The phenomenon of humor in Hollywood is quite fascinating in a sociological sense. Remember when Adam Sandler was funny? Not so much now. Well, the top of the humor food chain right now is the old Judd Apatow crowd of Rogen, Segal, Rudd and Hill. The first three have evolved their comedy and craft nicely, while Hill (with the exception of Moneyball) has dug into his Super Bad sophomoric humor….and 21 Jump Street has its share of that. But it has more, and maybe it’s the Bacall influence, but I suspect it has more to do with Channing Tatum and what his straight hunky charm brings to the equation.
If I treated this like an investment I would make a sizable short-term bet on Hill, but I would layer on some deep ou-of-the-money put protection on the trade since I do not believe his humor has staying power. I make a long-term buy out of the rest of the Apatow gang. I go short Adam Sandler and I am starting to leg out of my Vince Vaughn stock. I’m a long-term holder of Owen Wilson and anything by or with Christopher Guest and his posse.