22 Jump Street: Movie Review
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Amber Stevens
Directors: Christopher Miller and Phil Lord
A lot of time is spent in 22 Jump Street referencing the fact that 21 Jump Street was the success that nobody was expecting and that they're expected to do exactly the same thing second time around.
In fact, the meta is never really very far away with the whole opening sequence of 22 Jump Street seeing Jenko and Schmidt (Tatum and Hill reprising their roles) being warned that second time around, even with a bigger budget and better ideas, things are always worse.
It sets the tone for 22 Jump Street, which sees the duo sent to college (as they were told right at the end of 21 Jump Street) to try and bust a craze which is sweeping the campus in the form of new drug, WhyPhy. So, it's up to the two of them to blend in once again and bust the drug dealer, once again.
But for Jenko, college is a revelation - he gets to go having been denied the privilege earlier in life - and makes a connection with the jocks and the frats; whereas Schmidt finds he's alienated and unable to fully integrate, leading to sparks of friction within the bromance....
22 Jump Street is exactly the sequel you'd expect and is in some ways, the sequel you deserve.
It's really a case of the same again, with a few more stunts, the same comedy and very little else - other than endless self-referencing (which to be honest, starts to grate after a prolonged period of exposure). As mentioned above, the opening sequence amuses - right down to Tatum asking if their cops could go into the secret service and protect the White House - but the continual referencing becomes a really unnecessary crutch for the film-makers to fall back on, making parts of this at times overlong comedy appear bloated and lacklustre.
Thankfully, some (but not all) of that ill-will is left behind by the performances of Hill and Tatum. Once again, Tatum mines his dumb as a bag of spanners schtick for about as far as it can go as Jenko; his chemistry with Hill is easy and appealing, giving plenty of legs to their bromance. Equally, Hill pushes his own awkward comedy to its logical OTT end, producing some of the better moments of off the wall silliness as he heads into rejected partner territory.
The final set piece in Spring Break in Mexico feels like a bridge too far, an unnecessary addition to an already unnecessary second time around - but if you're prepared, like Channing Tatum's Jenko, to check your brain at the door, this is summer throwaway entertainment.
22 Jump Street tries to be too clever for its own good by continual self-referential commentary, but if you're willing to overlook that overcooking from the guys who brought you The Lego Movie, there are moments to amuse in among all the silliness.
And it's worth staying on for the credits, as the potential for 18 more sequels (I kid you not) is revealed....