Keith Staskiewicz
May 20, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Some things in the big-screen adaptation of the classic ’80s TV series 21 Jump Street will be very familiar — like a cameo by series star Johnny Depp. But funnyman Jonah Hill promises more laughs this time around. Hill, who co-wrote the film, costars with Channing Tatum as cops who go undercover at their old high school. ”They came to me and said, ‘Do you have a comedic take on the show?”’ says Hill. ”My first response was ‘Um, no.’ But then I thought there might be a fun story there about people revisiting high school.” Hill’s character was once a nerd, while Tatum’s cop was a cool jock. Upon returning to school, though, they find their positions on the popularity food chain have switched. ”It’s essentially a story about guys who didn’t get it right the first time going back to school,” says Hill. ”It’s almost like a time-travel movie, where they have the answers that they didn’t know then. Like Back to the Future Part II: They go back, but now they have the almanac.” What about the believability of the 28-year-old Hill and the 31-year-old Tatum blending in with teenagers? Says Hill, ”We have a lot of jokes about how Channing looks much older than most of the other high school kids in the movie.”

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