22 Jump Street Review

Posted: August 18, 2014 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

22-jump-street-posterWritten by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

21 Jump Street was something of a pleasant surprise back in 2011. Despite likely being conceived as another cash grab remake, the film ended up being surprisingly funny. It had a great cast, tons of great jokes, energy, and even a decent story. Directors Chris Miller and Phill Lord had seemingly done the impossible. The essentially did the same thing earlier this year with The Lego Movie, another property which really should have been a cheap and uninspired cash grab, but ended up being hilarious and smart. Still, I had reservations about 22 Jump Street, which seemed a very forced sequel and had generally weak marketing. Well, the film is better than I would have expected, but it isn’t really the same surprise success the way it’s predecessor or The Lego Movie was.

Shortly after the first film, Jenko and Schmidt (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are still working as undercover cops, but are not exactly performing well. The department believes it’s because they aren’t following the same formula as they did in the first film, and that if they just do the same thing, everything will be fine. So of course, the two are sent on a similar mission where they need to infiltrate a school, find who’s supplying a new drug to students and take them down. The twist is this time they’re in college instead of high school.

If you read that plot description and thought, “Wow, that sounds like a lazy sequel”, don’t worry, the filmmakers agree with you. 22 Jump Street is loaded with meta-jokes about cash-grab sequels and how genuinely inspired they are. The first film had some similar meta-humour, but this one really pushes the envelop. There’s also all sorts of references to the actors’ other films, such as Schmidt claiming he and Jenko should join the secret service and protect the president. The best of these jokes actually comes during the film’s credits, which are hilarious. Still, as much as I enjoyed a lot of the jokes, at the end of the day this really is that type of lazy and uninspired sequel it claims to be mocking. It’s having fun with it and getting laughs, but that doesn’t really make it any less lazy. One of the best surprises of the first film was how it had a pretty engaging. This isn’t the case here, and the energy is notably lacking.

Still, most of the jokes here do work pretty well. A big part of this is Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, who really do have great chemistry. A lot of humour comes from the strain the case is putting on their partnership and it’s pretty humorous how much it resembles a real romance. The film reinforces this by overtly referencing Annie Hall via the numerous split screens and the lobster boiling scenes. Anyway, both have strong comic delivery and are generally given strong lines to work with. The physical comedy is also strong, and Miller and Lord continue to show their talent for strong comedic set-pieces. Ice Cube also comes back in a more prominent role and thankfully doesn’t overstay his welcome. There’s also lots of bit parts and cameos, some from returning characters and others new, and really everyone brings something to the film. There’s also a lot of action and while these scenes are played for laughs, they do function pretty well. The highlight is a car chase through the college campus, and while the finale does have some less than stellar production values, the jokes keep things fun.

On the whole, I don’t really have much to say about 22 Jump Street. It’s generally the lazy sequel it spends most of it’s runtime criticizing and it lacks the energy and engagement of the first. That said, I still laughed pretty hard and pretty consistently throughout the film. What can I say; these dudes make me laugh. So is it worth seeing? If you didn’t like the last film, this one change your mind, but those who did will most likely get a lot of laughs seeing these characters together again. It’s not really worth rushing to the theater to, but catch it at home and you’ll have yourself a good time.

B-

Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Dan. It’s an incredibly funny comedy that not only expands on the first, but works totally on its own, too. Even if a couple of jokes may go over the head.

  2. Nice review, Dan. I’m not gay, but anyone can appreciate my boy Channing. I feel like he controls me. Also, Jonah Hill is the man. I just want to hug him. America’s Teddy Bear :)

  3. […] Who Actually Won:¬†Channing Tatum, 22 Jump Street […]

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