Yeah, I know that 22 Jump Street has been out for two weeks now. It’s not like I’ve been avoiding the film in any way, but like Tommy Wiseau would tell Greg Sestero in the book “The Disaster Artist“, I’m very busy. So, I’ve ended my two weeks of business and can now see some films that I haven’t gotten around to seeing yet. So for those who don’t know, 22 Jump Street was my 6th most anticipated film of the summer, as I found the first film in this unlikely film franchise to be a very unique and funny spin on the buddy cop genre. It also changed my whole viewpoint on Channing Tatum as an actor, who broke out in a major way that year in 2012 with 21 Jump Street and Magic Mike. So, a sequel was inevitable, but I got excited since Phil Lord and Chris Miller were returning to direct the sequel, and both men have garnered a considerable amount of praise and respect for 21 Jump Street and this year’s The Lego Movie, which is one of the 5 best films I’ve seen all year. The reception with 22 Jump Street has been very positive since it’s release, and now I give you my review on the film.
Jonah Hill and Tatum return as the duo of Schmidt and Jenko, two of the most unlikely of friends who have one of the most intense bromances ever put on-screen. The two are back and their assignment is to infiltrate a drug ring inside of the local college. There at the college, Jenko and Schmidt make connections with several students, as they try to find the drug. Again, it’s a pretty straight forward premise that is very familiar to the last film.
But what makes this film work so well is that the film is almost identical to the first film, but the filmmakers are very aware of the fact that the two films are so similar, as there are very subtle but hilarious nods to how stupid it is to do a sequel to 21 Jump Street. And unlike The Hangover Part 2, where that film was identical to the first but didn’t have any of the charm or enjoyment of the previous film, 22 Jump Street gets nearly everything right in how to make a comedy sequel, and it’s probably the funniest comedy I’ve seen all year. Lord and Miller continue to prove that they are the most underestimated creative duo in Hollywood, but thanks to The Lego Movie and this film, the tides have turned drastically for the duo. The action sequences in the film are extremely well done and choreographed, making this one of the great action comedy films ever made, period. But what’s great about the film is that they make you know how self-aware this film is, but it never gets irritating or mundane. The filmmakers are constantly coming up with creative ideas of how to make fun of themselves, and there are some moments where I nearly fell out of my seat laughing at the screen.
And it works to the improv work of both Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, who are both excellent in the film. They both work incredibly well off of each other during the film, and nearly every scene they share together is either incredibly funny, or surprisingly heartfelt. The two work excellently together, and I look forward to the duo hopefully doing other projects together in the future. There is also a great supporting cast, with Ice Cube returning as the Captain of Jump Street, and Cube throws out some of the funniest lines in this film that had me rolling in my seat. There are also some great supporting turns from young actors like Wyatt Russell, the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, and Amber Stevens who plays a love interest to Hill’s Schmidt. It was revealed in the trailer, but Rob Riggle and Dave Franco return for a brief but memorable scene in the film, and there are a bunch of cameos from some of Hollywood’s most talented comedians and comedic actors sprinkled around the film.
If I had to think, the only nitpick I had would be that some (not all, but like 5 or 6) jokes fell flat for me, but the rest of the film is so funny and so damn funny that all is forgiven. So, to wrap things up, 22 Jump Street is a rare sequel that repeats the material and nearly every beat of the first film, but nails it completely and does it surprisingly well. The film is also a great commentary on the nature of film sequels and franchises, but that’s all I’ll say on that matter. If you haven’t seen it yet, and you love these raunchy R-rated comedies like I do, then by all means go see 22 Jump Street if you haven’t already. So, next of my list of films to see is Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, and then (unfortunately) Michael Bay’s next chapter in the Transformers franchise. Yay….