Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: 22 Jump Street

Release date: June 13, 2014
Running time: 112 minutes
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens
Who to see it with: Bros who like self-aware comedy


Follow-ups to surprise hits often try to outdo their predecessors by repeating their successful formulas while making everything bigger and broader. 22 does this while winking at the audience with self-aware jokes that poke fun at the nature of action sequels. Once again, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) go undercover at a school, this time a college. This makes their older appearances stand out slightly less, though poor, younger Jonah Hill remains a popular target for age-related humor. Another rift forms between the cops for very similar reasons, with a few changes that swap Schmidt and Jenko's roles. The setting unsurprisingly leads to fraternity antics, but is so focused upon Schmidt and Jenko that it never feels like a retread of Neighbors.

The sequel mocking is often funny and a smart way to differentiate 22 from other sequels; it also feels like an easy excuse for the filmmakers to put Schmidt and Jenko through a slightly altered version of 21's plot. Fortunately, Hill and Tatum are still fun to watch. They still have an organic, clashing, brotherly love that's fun to watch even during the not so funny scenes. This time, Captain Dickson becomes more involved in the case, giving Ice Cube more opportunities to get in on the action and comedy. Peter Stormare plays a bland villain. Little time is wasted on him and his scenes allow Schmidt, Jenko and other more energetic characters to shine, but I felt each of 21's high school antagonists contributed to the comedy. The self-referential humor can get old, and the jokes are sometimes just dumb rather than dumb fun. 22 Jump Street offers more of 21's fun bromance and back-to-school humor but is not totally unlike the sequels that it mocks.

NOTE: There's a funny scene during the credits AND a brief one following the credits.


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