22 Jump Street

Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell

Rated: R (language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence)

After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college.

 

22 Jump Street

By Cole Schneider

Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back in theaters, having now graduated to college. This episode brings even more brilliant satire, hilarious bromance, and ridiculous off-the-charts chemistry between its leads.

The comedy sequel is one of the most difficult tasks to tackle for a filmmaker with creative ambition. In the sequel, jokes are repeated, character arcs flatten, and plots are familiar. The budget is always bigger, but the buzz is always smaller.

To make a compelling sequel, directors Lord and Miller (“21 Jump Street”, “The Lego Movie”) decided to take the problems inherent in the sequel formula and turn them on their head. The result doesn’t always work. “Muppets Most Wanted” tried something vaguely familiar earlier this year with merely vague success. “22 Jump Street” holds nothing back resulting in non-stop laughter from a movie winking at its audience throughout. More than anything to be released recently, 22JS knows what it is. While many movies–and most sequels–struggle for an identity, 22JS is never in doubt.

Its satire, though, doesn’t stop at sequels. It’s also commenting on romantic comedies and the homoerotic tendencies of the buddy-cop formula as well. A love triangle emerges in the film, which comes as a breath of fresh air in Hollywood. Without being offensive or taking some high moral stand, 22JS expands on its predecessors’ organic and hilarious bromance with surprising flair.

Against all odds, 22JS not only lives up to 21JS, but surpasses it in the breadth of its satire, visual flair, and comic performances. Even it’s supporting cast is perfect, Ice Cube in particular is a blast.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

22 Jump Street

By Matt Greene

What an awful idea for a movie. Take a subpar 80’s teen soap opera, reboot it as a comedy movie, and then give it a SEQUEL?! But with directors Lord and Miller (“Lego Movie”) and writers Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall, 22JS becomes a self-aware meta-comment on the overstuffed sequel. It’s not quite as funny or smooth as the outstanding first film, but the trope send ups, engaging mystery, and good-natured humor propel this to its own heights.

22JS picks up right where the first ends, Ice Cube giving the guys their new undercover assignment, infiltrating a new drug ring, this time at college. There are plenty of jabs at this being exactly the same as the first film, which is where the best parts of the humor reside, in the satire of Hollywood money-making. We have send-ups of college comedies, buddy cop comedies, big-budget franchises, and even rom-coms (with plenty of the gay undertones we often see unintentionally in many buddy action movies). Plus, Lord and Miller are in the Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim) camp of direction, truly using the tools of cinema to create laughs instead of just making the performers do all the work.

The fantastic chemistry of Tatum and Hill is enough to see anything they’re in, but when given the kind of subversive, smart, and hilarious material they are here, it’s a perfect storm. If you haven’t seen the first one, see it. Then rush out to see 22JS.  And make sure to stay for what may be the greatest end credits of all time.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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