22 Jump Street

All hail the return of Korean Jesus! Up next is the highly anticipated 22 Jump Street, sequel to the popular 2012 comedy 21 Jump Street. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, it features Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Ice Cube. It is rated R for strong language, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence.

After the events of the first film, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) take on their next task when they go deep undercover at a local college. However, the two begin to question their partnership after Jenko befriends a kid on the football team, and Schmidt invades the Bohemian art major scene. Now, before solving the case, they have to figure out whether they can even have a mature relationship.

6 out of 10

I came to this movie having just sat through, or perhaps more appropriately, suffered through the James McAvoy film Filth and was thus in serious need of an amusing experience to lift my spirits. Fortunately, that is exactly what I found in 22 Jump Street, a movie that although it does not hit the same heights as the original, is a very suitable follow-up full of gags. 22 Jump Street is a movie made completely for the viewer. You may reasonably question what I mean by this: aren’t all films made to be watched? Yes, but sometimes, especially during my viewing of Filth, I question whether the director is really doing this for the viewer or is simply indulging his or her own artistic fancies. There is no question of this in 22 Jump Street. It delivers exactly what you want, comedy, while filling in the rest with serviceable plot and character development and some bold action sequences. Whereas in the first film the best comedic moments came from the parody of modern high school culture, here I found the biggest laughs in the jokes parodying the original and the film itself. This gave the film a refreshing lighthearted mood. The director seemed to be saying that yes the premise is ridiculous and everyone knows it, so let’s just enjoy the ride.

22 jump

That said this was not a classic movie. Sure you could argue it wasn’t ever trying to be, but even within the realm of lighthearted comedies this is not a standout entry. It does everything fine, but it doesn’t do anything amazingly or even particularly cleverly. To be fair, I was chuckling throughout but no single joke took longer than a split-second for me to fully grasp. This is just standard fare for Hill and though the setting and characters may be different, this is effectively the same humor he has been dealing in since Superbad 7 years ago. Honestly, Hill. Rogen and co. could probably have written the script for this movie in a single afternoon.

Another grievance I have with the film is that it doesn’t really say anything important. One trend that I really admire in modern cinema is seemingly simple movies with some moral message. Pixar has done this for decades but now every studio seems to be getting in on the moral action. But beyond the obvious truth that modern sequels tend to be derivative of the original, this movie lacked a basic message.

But I do not want to disparage this movie too much. It is a fun ride and if you enjoyed the first entry you will find more than enough to entertain you. And arguably more importantly, it didn’t ruin the legacy of the great first entry even if it could not reach its heady heights.

8 out of 10
Here’s the short version:
I like 21 Jump Street. 22 Jump Street is 21 Jump Street. Therefore, I like 22 Jump Street.Ah, damn! I still have to write a whole review though so here’s the four to five hundred word version:The very best part of 22 Jump Street is that its shining moments are not exact, carbon-copies of 21 Jump Street. There’s definitely a bit of originality there. But the worst part (And its not exactly awful) is that a lot of its jokes use the same blueprints as 21 Jump Street.21 Jump Street (The drama) was about two narcs solving crimes at schools (After agitating them, of course). 21 Jump Street (The movie) was about making fun of the old T.V. show and then some. It expanded its horizons into the movie industry in general.22 Jump Street is about…making fun of the old T.V. show and then some. Its (Right down to some hilarious cameos and satisfying meta-humor) the same concept. Same plotline. Mainly the same characters and some of those “Have I seen that before?” jokes that comedy sequels are unusually good at churning out.

But I still laughed. And, by God, that is what I’m measuring this by. It may have the same designs but it has just enough variety in its execution that comedies like The Hangover 2 don’t have. It’s also self-aware. Self-awareness really carries this one: this movie knows exactly what it is versus what it’s expected to be. The very best example of this comes right before the end credits when we get hit with a barrage of potential sequel clips; each plagued with the usual cliches that we’ve forgotten we’ve all (Regrettably) paid to see before.

Yet another thing that carries this movie is the relationship between our two stars: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. If I’m not mistaken, these two are actually friends in real life which doesn’t surprise me very much. I’m just as invested in our leads as ever and you oddly continue to care about their friendship (But not too much that it oversteps its bounds).

And because you’re so invested, there’s another thing that (Again, surprisingly) works: the action. I swear to God that I care more about the action that happens in 21 and 22 Jump Street than 90% of the blockbuster action films I have seen in between the two. The action is actually good. It’s not the whole movie but it’s entertaining enough so that you don’t stop caring.

In conclusion, 22 Jump Street is worth it. If you’re willing to cope with the deja vu and the same structure as before then you’ll certainly enjoy the bits of original execution it has to offer. Would I like to see a sequel or two? I know better than to trust Hollywood with such a daunting task as making a good comedy three-quel but why not?

Just keep Ice Cube involved somehow.

IMDB: 7.2
Metacritic: 71
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%


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