Sequels always seem to follow a generic path and depending on the genre of the film, they may vary slightly. They all try to be different in some ways and go against the form, but they most often end up failing to do so. The same cliches pop up and the film barely manages to hold your attention after a while, as you’ve seen most of the things done before. It’s rare to see a film rise above the cliches and in this case, make fun of and embrace them.
After busting a drug ring within a high school, the undercover cops of the Jump Street division were reassigned to take on a new drug problem at the college level. Best friends and partners Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are back on the job and are taking things a bit too seriously. The operation should be simple, but they’re stuck in the mindset of badass cops who solve real important crimes. You know, the kinds with action and explosions. Unfortunately for them, this is not one of those cases and Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) and Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) make sure that the duo do exactly the same thing they did last time.
Reluctant to fall into the same tropes, Schmidt and Jenko reclaim their identities as the McQuaid brothers and begin to infiltrate MC State. While Schmidt has a hard time fitting in, Jenko has no trouble finding a new best bro in Zook (Wyatt Russell), a bone-headed football/frat boy. The two hit it off and leave Schmidt to loathe by himself, until he meets Maya (Amber Stevens). The two somewhat hit it off, but pressing police issues get in the way when the drug known as “WHY/PHY” is about to be taken to other schools. The two bromigos will have to work together in order to keep the drug contained and stop the bad guys!
22 Jump Street is the stuff of sequel legend. It’s hard enough to make a comedy film successful and great in the first place. It’s even harder to make a comedy sequel worthwhile, but that seemed like a relatively easy task for this film. Smartly playing against type, while also playing around with your typical sequel clichés, 22 Jump Street manages to best its predecessor (which is one of the best comedy’s of the last few decades) and remain consistently funny all throughout the film. There have been many comparisons to Scream 2 and those are completely valid, because this film is just a blast and it thrives off of its meta take on Hollywood and sequels.
Jonah Hill is someone who my mother hates and is someone who I completely enjoy and adore. Since Superbad, he’s consistently delivered with his hilariously inappropriate roles and I’ve especially loved his character in these Jump Street films. He’s the clingy partner who’s got a lot of feelings and he has so much fun being the emotional partner. His physical limitations are used to highlight his inefficiency as a police officer, but his brain and understanding of people are what make him so effective. He is the brains of the duo and his witty commentary and reactions to situations are hilarious and well-timed. He really kills it when he takes on the role of the partner that isn’t ready to let Tatum move on to other friends.
Channing Tatum’s brainless officer never fails to make you giggle and explode with laughter when he makes stupid decisions, or catches on to things way later than he should. His physicality is his ally and he does some awesome stunts, but he can’t think too good and that’s where a lot of the jokes stem from. He finds his groove with the alcohol and football that rules the school and his interactions with the other brainless football players and frat boys are side-splitting. His childish tendencies and ever-changing maturity works well with the college setting and his character’s readiness to try new people makes for some laugh-out-loud moments. He and Hill have some extraordinary chemistry and they really make this film a blast.
Director’s Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have already seen great success with their amazing The Lego Movie earlier this year and 22 Jump Street is just a continuation of their success. They’re two very observational and socially aware individuals who, together, create an off-balance world that makes fun of the one we live in. They shoot some extreme action sequences, intimate moments, and hilarious scenarios with precision and expertise. They know how to craft a scene and they make sure that the audience knows what sort of trope they’re playing against with the type of mood that’s evoked.
A lot of the credit for this film has to go to its writers Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman, who effectively turned Hollywood clichés into a wildly entertaining film. The film is insanely self-aware and is always reiterating that the guys need to do exactly what they did last time, because it’s what people want. However, the college setting allows for more humor and exploration of our modern society. College students attempt to act more intelligent and socially aware and their general pretentious outlook on life is especially hilarious to see made fun of. This film is totally meta and against the status quo and I loved every minute of it. The end credits are the best I’ve ever seen in a film and I want a billion more films from these guys!
I still can’t get over how hilarious this movie is. It’s one that’s going to work for a lot of people, but I’ve seen many people who grew tired of the self-aware jokes. For me, they made the film all the better and I never once stopped laughing throughout this film. I had a wonderful time with the friends and strangers around me and the theater was never once quiet. It’s a film that I’m going to see again on opening night and I may even see it a third time. These guys have found a winning combination and they make the absolute most of what they’ve got (which is a lot). 22 Jump Street is hands down the funniest film this year and I’m really not sure how anything will be able to top this. Entertainment at its finest.
22 Jump Street Trailer