The overzealous marketing for this film has probably made a lot of people wary of its actual comedic value. The posters, the trailers, and TV spots have all been in everyone’s faces for awhile, so much so that it comes off as a desperate attempt to get people into the theaters without regards to the film itself having of any substance. Thankfully, this is not the case for 22 Jump Street at all. The sequel to the successful and well-done 21 Jump Street is funny, outrageous, and thoroughly entertaining throughout without losing its step.
Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are BFFs for life. No, really. Their bromance is of epic proportions and takes center stage in this film, hilariously taking the place of what could have been a romantic comedy… almost. So now that the two undercover cops have graduated from posing as high school students, their next assignment, given to them by the ever-humorous Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman), who dead pans an entire speech about his divorce that serves as a double entendre and mockery of the film itself. What is their next assignment? Well, after high school comes college.
And that’s where the two cops end up, literally moving their headquarters from the address of 21 Jump Street to… you guessed it, 22 Jump Street. No worries here, as Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) moves with them and is still there to give them hell. So Jenko and Schmidt go undercover at the local college to figure out who’s dealing drugs to students. Jenko joins the football team and bonds aggressively and all soul-mate-like, much to Schmidt’s chagrin, with fellow player and fraternity president Zook (Wyatt Russell). Schmidt also warms up to an art student named Maya (Amber Stevens). While Jenko and Schmidt drift apart and simultaneously try and figure out the case, hilarity and lots of manly sentimentality ensues.
22 Jump Street is really hard not to like. It’s set up so you know from the very beginning that this sequel knows exactly that it’s a sequel and sets out to mock this fact every chance it gets. Offerman very bluntly states that they’re going to be following the same exact formula that made the first film successful. After all, why fix what’s not yet broken? There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, mostly from the ridiculousness of it all, but it’s all in good fun. The film is thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining from start to finish, keeping its momentum without going stale.
Channing Tatum should think about ditching any possibility of having a career doing more drama-driven films and stick to comedy. He and Jonah Hill are fantastic together. There’s a chemistry that is uniquely their own and they milk the bromance-heavy dialogue they get for all its worth. Sometimes it’s a little overboard, but still strangely chuckle-inducing. Ice Cube gets a little more to do in this film and he uses his time well. A welcome appearance comes from Queen Latifah, while Nick Offerman has a couple of funny scenes but isn’t in the film for very long.
The film focuses on comedy, keeps the same formula from the last film, but doesn’t falter in its sequel status. There’s also plenty of action, a lot of adoration for Lamborghinis, and the pressure of wanting to hang out with people who are so much like you that it might prove weird and uncomfortable. It’s a movie that is almost as funny, if not just as funny, as its predecessor and doesn’t for one second take itself seriously or thinks of itself as original, which makes it all the more endearing.
Tatum and Hill are a bizarre team that somehow make it work to their comedic advantage. Maybe it’s because they’re so odd together that makes the film’s comedic beats work. 22 Jump Street is worthy of its hype and is probably one of the more successful comedy sequels we’ve seen in a while, as well as one of the funnier movies out so far this year. The film is fun, the cast endearing, the comedic timing great for the most part, and the action engaging and crazy. The film is buddy-cop comedy at its best.
Release Date: June 13, 2014 | Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller | Screenwriters: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel | Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Nick Offerman, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Peter Stormare, The Lucas Brothers, Jimmy Tatro | Genre: Comedy | MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity, and some violence