“22 Jump Street” is exactly what comedy is today. It’s coarse, free-flowing and playful. People talk the way they talk in real life. It has no sentiment of any kind and no phony uplift. No one becomes a better person for having watched it. It’s made with an awareness of the past, so you get subtle riffs on genre cliches from earlier comedies. And it’s really funny, not “heh-heh” funny, but laugh-out-loud funny, virtually scene by scene.
The hyper-self-aware follow-up to the equally hyper-self-aware “21 Jump Street,” this is a sequel that wears its well-worn formula, mocking inside jokes and gleeful taste for overkill proudly, flying the high-lowbrow flag for audiences that like their comedy just smart enough to be not-too-dumb.
After a successful undercover drug bust operation in high school, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) get their next big assignment. Now in the sequel 22 Jump Street, as Ice Cube so eloquently put it, these “two sons of b***hes are going to college.” As the cop duo take on yet another drug ring, they go through multitude of ridiculous yet hilarious situations. In doing so, there are some formulaic traps that the movie does fall into. Despite that, it is just an incredible ride with non-stop laughter and great comedic chemistry between the lead actors. This is a must-see for fans of 21 Jump Street and people who generally like to laugh.
I doubt many will share this opinion, but I thought it blew the first movie out of the water, and that one was already pretty strong. I love how meta this got without becoming obnoxious about it, and none of the jokes, save for another scene where they accidentally get high (and even then they cut it down), felt overused. They took a lot of the structure of the first film and managed to make a fresh film out of it. Also, Channing Tatum alone is pure comedic gold.
It was a good film. It was funnier than the original but it didn’t have as strong a plot. So overall they’re pretty close. I preferred it to the original personally, but both are brilliant and the way this one sort of but not really breaks the fourth wall with the way it talks about the 21 Jump Street reboot being an unexpected success (referencing the first film) and then taking the Mick out the fact the plot is exactly the same and also the endless sequels. Brilliant.
Captain Hardy (Nick Offerman) may nearly break the fourth wall and apologize to the audience for the sequel concept’s threadbare originality, but, apart from a halfhearted, throwaway line of dialogue about the dismal prospects awaiting liberal arts majors, there’s not much about 22 Jump Street that connects it with the ripe, juicy topic that’s right there for the eviscerating: the pathetic state of the university experience in 2014.
At its best, 22 Jump Street is less an action comedy than a loosely plotted revue, and though it’s not as witty as either Joe Dante’s “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” or Edgar Wright’s “Hot Fuzz” (in which the directors evinced genuine love for their chosen genres), it’s sure as hell better than a straight buddy-cop sequel.
This movie will leave you in tears if you haven’t seen any of the trailers, but if you have then you’ll probably be counting down the seconds until the punch-line you know is coming actually hits.