UK Release Date: 6th June 2014
Runtime: 112 minutes
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writer: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Nick Offerman, Craig Roberts
Synopsis: The guys are sent undercover onto a hedonistic college campus to track down the suppliers of a dangerous new study drug.
Few people could muster up excitement at the release of 80s TV adaptation 21 Jump Street in 2012. However, it turned out to be a real sleeper hit, based on the unique comedy sensibilities of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and the winning chemistry between leads Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The sequel doesn’t exactly break new ground, but it’s another bona fide hit.
After a bungled drugs bust at some docks, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are rebuked by Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) and placed back under the tyrannical rule of Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) on the Jump Street program. Sent to college to track down a new study drug, the duo find themselves conflicted as they follow different paths in their efforts to find the suppliers.
Lord & Miller are quickly establishing themselves as the most innovative pair of comedy filmmakers out there. Between this and The Lego Movie, they have proven that their commitment to postmodern genre cinema is unwavering. 22 Jump Street is a derivative sequel that relentlessly savages the idea of the derivative sequel in a sublime example of “lampshading”.
| "We Jump Street, and we ’bout to jump in your ass."
It feels from the start that 22 Jump Street is almost completely uninhibited. Whilst many sequels show the strain of bettering their predecessor, Lord & Miller instead choose to sit back and have a good time instead. It’s true that 22 Jump Street doesn’t match its predecessor, but it does pack dozens of real belly laughs into its script.
The film is aided, of course, by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The latter, in particular, has emerged in recent years as an excellent comic actor, with uncharacteristic clumsiness providing the perfect counterpoint to his Hollywood good looks. There’s also a beefed-up role for Ice Cube, who gets many of the film’s best zingers, and a great display from Jillian Bell as the cynical flatmate of Schmidt’s new girlfriend.
It lacks the heart of the first film, but 22 Jump Street demands to be praised for the way it manages to organically reintroduce conflict into its central buddy relationship. The friction between the two over their respective new relationships never comes across as forced and moves their characters forwards in a way that franchise sequels seldom do.
| "He has one class in Human Sexuality, and now he’s Harvey Milk."
First and foremost though, 22 Jump Street is just exceptionally funny. Bawdy humour comes alongside pop culture commentary and perfectly-played slapstick. Even when the film finishes, it gives way to what we can safely assume will be the funniest credits sequence we see all year. There are more laughs in that sequence than in anything Adam Sandler has ever made.
Pop or Poop?
It isn’t the bolt of lightning that 21 Jump Street was, but Lord & Miller’s witty sequel is another wryly self-aware comedy that gives the face muscles a workout.
Hill and Tatum continue to have amazing chemistry together and are bolstered by some solid new additions to the cast.
A threequel seems unlikely, especially given the ending, but 22 Jump Street certainly sends the characters out on a high.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.