22 JUMP STREET Movie Review – A Hilarious Sequel
Released two years ago, 21 Jump Street was very much aware it was a blatant cash grab by a studio looking to use an old idea for a new hit. Nobody had any idea if it would be any good. In all honesty, the movie was pretty much set up to fail.
Jonah Hill, coming off an Oscar nomination for Moneyball, still hadn’t proven himself to be a funny leading man, mostly appearing in supporting roles in Judd Apatow movies. Channing Tatum, who’d just starred in the hit film The Vow with Rachel McAdams and had a supporting role in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, hadn’t yet hit super-stardom with Magic Mike, and definitely hadn’t proven he could be funny. And the directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, had only directed one other film, the animated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Next thing we know, 21 Jump Street turns out to be a riot, riding a wave of public and critical praise to box office glory. Now, the entire gang is back with the even more tongue-in-cheek 22 Jump Street, which finds Hill and Tatum doing the same thing they did in 21, but this time at college.
22 Jump Street makes it clear from the beginning this is a silly, meta take on sequels and movies based on TV shows, with a “Previously on 21 Jump Street” recap before 22 begins. The rest of the film pokes fun at sequel tropes, like the fact that they have bigger budgets, hit the same beats as the original and even go on to even more convoluted sequels.
Poking fun at sequels may be 22‘s biggest strength, but it’s also the film’s biggest weakness. Yes, 22 hits every single note one would expect it to, from the role reversal that happened in 21 (Schmidt, the high school geek, becomes popular, while Jenko struggles to find his way) reversing roles again, as Jenko is quickly taken in by the football team and Schmidt slinks away to the artsy crowd. Some of the original film’s plot points are turned on their head to hilarious effect, but some of the parts drag a bit because of their familiarity. 22 even gives fun supporting characters from 21 more screen time, like Ice Cube, who literally steals the movie out from Hill and Tatum when he’s on screen.
For co-directors Lord and Miller, everything is awesome right now. The LEGO Movie was a massive success earlier this year, and now they’re back with the funniest, most bromantic live action comedy of the year, 22 Jump Street. Hill and Tatum may be physical opposites, but they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Hopefully, they’ll be around for a few more Jump Streets before all is said and done.