Movie Review: 22 Jump Street
Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Jillian Bell, Nick Offerman, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence, Running time 112 minutes minutes, Comedy/Action
Compare to: The Heat (2013), Ride Along (2014)
Any good film has got to know what it is for it to be, at the very least, decent. And the sequel has it even harder in that sense as it seems all too easy to revert to the same story as the original with some different jokes.
But 22 Jump Street is all too aware of what it is and it’s in itself that makes it watchable. If this had come out before The Hangover 2, maybe notes could have been taken on how to do a comedy sequel to a movie that really only needed one. But again, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller seem to not only know this, but use it as the story itself.
Schmidt and Jenko are back undercover with the Jump Street program; a division of the police department that sends cops into schools as NARCs. But high school was a long time ago for these two and it’s off to college to find that suppliers of another dangerous drug that’s killing kids on campus (again).
The question to ask about 22 Jump Street is: “Is it funny?” Because when it comes to comedy, it’s all about about the timing. When it comes to buddy comedy, it’s all about the chemistry. And though Hill and Tatum are still a very odd couple comedically, the film doesn’t attempt to go out of it’s boundaries. Hill is still an awkward nerd and Tatum is the good-looking idiot. It works in the ways it’s meant to.
Most of the jokes between the two deal with gay overtones between the bros much like the last film did, though this isn’t so much a few jokes here and there but the relationship itself. Between gay friendships, jokes about age, and how tired of a film series Jump Street is already, you’ve got your movie.
And yes, I am giving credit to a movie with Channing Tatum in it. It could have something to do with him really understanding his character in a deeply intimate way…
And unlike many buddy cop comedies, Jump Street doesn’t seem to be interested in forced resolved relationships throughout the movie like so many do. Ride Along or White Chicks, for example. We really don’t care as much about the story as much as we do the comedy.
But as mentioned, the film understands itself and that’s really all you can ask of it. The Hangover crowd seemed mostly content with the exact same movie that came before it and it suffered critically. What does that mean for the makers of it? Nothing, they made their money and it’s finally wrapped up. But since your movie is going to be around for a while, it’s nice to know that some know where the line is.
Positives: Fourth wall awareness creating certain freedom from normal plot restraints.
Negatives: It really is the same movie.
Side note: The funniest parts are the scenes during and after the credits, FYI.