22 Jump Street (2014) Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller. Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube. IMDB says: “After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college.”
Going into 22 Jump Street I had some strong opinions about the franchise. I felt that a large part of the appeal of the first film came from the fact no one saw it coming – 21 Jump Street was a huge hit that caught everyone off guard. Now that the world knew what to expect from Jump Street I wondered would the sequel live up to the standard set by the original or crumble under the pressure. Guys, I’m here to tell you, 22 Jump Street knocks it out the park.
22JSt. walks the fine line that most comedic sequels fail to do, give the audience something familiar while keeping the laughs fresh (I’m looking at you, The Hangover), and the movie definitely delivers. The premise of the sequel is nearly identical to the first film, Schmidt and Jenko (Hill and Tatum) are trying to bust up a drug ring but instead pretending to be high school students they’re now on college freshman. You’ll find similar setups to jokes that you’ve seen in the first film but the jokes themselves are new. I cannot express to you how funny this movie is, I know for a fact there are jokes that I missed because I was laughing at something that happened earlier.
The on-screen bromistry (you know, like chemistry but between two straight guys) between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is great. What really works for them as a comedic pair is that they don’t fall into comedy duo tropes of one being the straight man and the other being the funny man, but instead seamlessly divide the two so each gets their time to really shine. While speaking about comedy, I owe Channing Tatum an apology, he definitely has way more comedic timing than I give him credit for.
Now for the things that didn’t work in favor of 22 Jump Street. One of the more charming jokes from the first film was the bit in the beginning with Nick Offerman describing to Hill and Tatum that they’re reopening a undercover program that was around in the 80’s that didn’t work so well, drawing a parallel between the cops new assignment and the fact that the movie we’re watching was a 80’s TV they’re rebooting (it’s so meta). The slight allusion worked for the first film, it was like a little elbow nudge, a “you see what I did there” sort of thing. However, for the second film that elbow nudge turned into an annoying kick to the knee. In 22 Jump Street they really drive that point home to the point where I thought “Dude, we get it. We see you’re making fun of yourself.” It’s not enough to take you out the movie experience but it’s a trip hazard.
Listen, if you like to laugh, see this movie. It has absolutely everything you loved about the first one plus more. I honestly can’t wait to pick up the Blu ray so I can see the bloopers, you know they’re going to be epic.