Film reviewer Dana Barbuto says, In addition to being the co-writer and producer, Jonah Hill clowns around, delivering deliciously filthy dialogue that draws lots of laughs. Yet Channing Tatum is the guy who steals the show. Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

The big screen reboot of “21 Jump Street,” the series that made Johnny Depp a star, hits theaters today with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum joining forces in an action comedy that sends the two young-looking stars back to high school to crack a drug ring.


In addition to being the co-writer and producer, Hill clowns around, delivering deliciously filthy dialogue that draws lots of laughs. Yet Tatum is the guy who steals the show. He has a mother lode more charm and chemistry playing opposite Hill than he did with Rachel McAdams in “The Vow.” Yes, the pretty-boy is pretty good at comedy. Be it a car or bike chase, or blowing stuff up along with the science nerds he befriends at school, Tatum is having a blast – and it is infectious.


The script by Michael Bacall, who also co-wrote the recent teen sex comedy “Project X,” isn’t nearly as strong as the performances, because once you peel away all the raunchy good fun, there really isn’t much going on. Male genitalia jokes and simulated sex gags only get you so far, and this clocks at a labored 109 minutes. It often feels like directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller forgot to yell “cut.”


From the get-go, though, the filmmakers make it clear they’re not taking any of this seriously – even calling their eventual Jump Street assignment a “cancelled gig from the ’80s.”


The success of the film hinges on the bromance between police partners Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum). They are the yin and yang of crime prevention. Jenko can’t recite Miranda rights; Schmidt can’t shoot a gun. The action picks up seven years after they’ve graduated high school. They end up assigned as bike cops patrolling a park. But when the bumbling idiots screw that up, they are promptly transferred to the Jump Street undercover unit, run by a frosty-tongued Ice Cube.


In their first pass at high school, Schmidt was a smart geek; Jenko was a dumb jock. Back for another go-round, their roles reverse, and one gets in too deep with the popular clique that includes Dave Franco (James Franco’s little bro) and Brie Larson (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”.)


The film ends up being an amusing send-up to the original and features some cool cameos (wink, wink) to further bolster its already significant “Street” cred.


Dana Barbuto may be reached at dbarbuto@ledger.com.


21 JUMP STREET (R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence.) Cast includes Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. 3 stars out of 4.