Alan Dee’s guide to new movie releases: 21 Jump Street, The Devil Inside, We Bought A Zoo

Three high-profile releases on offer this week, and they are as different as chalk and cheese and another bit of cheese not much like the first bit at all.

First up is 21 Jump Street, based on a 1980s TV hit that nobody much watched on this side of the Atlantic, even though it was the show which launched the career of a certain Johnny Depp.

It’s the basis for a broad buddy comedy which pairs up Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as a pair of cops who start of hating each other and...well, you know.

They were enemies at school and now they have to get along, combining their brawn and brain – one is apparently blessed with the former, one with the later, but it’s hard to tell from the script – as they are assigned, on account of their fresh-faced looks, to an undercover operation which aims to bust a school drugs ring.

It’s shallow, predictable, not nearly as funny as it thinks it is and the story – there are multiple screenwriting credits, which is rarely a good thing – is so full of holes you could use it to strain veg.

But there’s clearly a market for this sort of witless teenage nonsense, and until people stop buying tickets to see stuff like this it will keep on coming off the production line.

> So, you really like scary films? But you’re not sure you can handle the full-on spine chilling that might come with an 18 certificate film? Well, you’re in luck – The Devil Inside threatens to shock you to the very core, but the 15 rating tells a very different story.

Here’s the story – woman confesses to three murders while undergoing an exorcism, and is locked up. Years later her daughter, now all grown up, starts investigating and opens a real can of worms.

She decides that what mum, still locked away in an Italian booby hatch, really needs is another, more up to date exorcism. Bad move...

Pretty soon they are grappling with demons galore and director William Brent Bell uses every trick in the book to make punters in the stalls at least jump, if not actually soil themselves.

But it’s pretty tame stuff when all is said and done, and it has to be because the only market for this sort of film is the teenagers who would be excluded if it went for broke.

> Then we have this week’s family film, Cameron Crowe’s We Bought A Zoo, which is all about a family which, well, take a wild guess.

Matt Damon is the mildly dotty widowed dad who decides to make a new life in the country without realising that the house he snaps up for a song comes with a scabby zoo attached. Luckily Scarlett Johansson is the head keeper, so he doesn’t immediately have all the animals shot and turn the grounds over to paintballing.

Instead he bonds with his kids, makes new friends, learns to love again, yadda yadda yadda.

In its way it is just as predictable as the other two offerings, but at least it gives Damon a chance to show his lighter side and although the action is set in sun-kissed Southern California the story is based on the true-life experience of a bloke who bought a zoo on Dartmoor almost by accident. Goes to show you should always have a survey done...

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