22 Jump Street- Reviewing the Funniest Movie I’ve Seen This Year
If it ain’t broke…
22 Jump Street is a movie that has no business being as ridiculously funny as it is. With a story that is an almost exact repeat of 2012’s 21 Jump Street, and the fact that it doesn’t even try to hide that it’s not bringing anything new to the table (other then the bigger budget we are reminded of frequently), there’s no way this sequel should’ve been better or funnier than the original. But that’s exactly what it is, a better, funnier version of the same movie that manages to achieve originality ironically by blatantly refusing to do anything original. 22 Jump Street knows its a sequel, and the fact that it never shy’s away from its willingness to fully embrace that and dive even further into the silliness and borderline slapstick nature that made the first film so much fun is what makes this work so well.
Right from the opening “previously on 21 Jump Street” montage, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, (who between the Jump Street movies and The Lego Movie are quickly becoming a couple of personal favorites and Hollywood’s best), remind us of the great comedic bromance that made the first film so successful, and waste no time showing us that they plan on giving us much more of the same. Clearly going for the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, the film quickly re-establishes that it’s two stars, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, are the engine that drive this franchise. And it’s easy to see why. The pair’s chemistry is as great as ever, and the amount of fun the duo are having shines through on every scene. Plus the odd couple approach of their partnership continues to lead to one of the funniest pairings in the last decade. Honestly, every onscreen moment they have together crackles with infectious comedic energy that literally almost dares you to not laugh.
22 Jump Street picks up with undercover narc officers Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill) thrown back into the Jump Street program after the two epically botch an undercover assignment, which forces Chief (Nick Offerman) to remind them (and the audience) that everyone just wants them to do exactly what they did the last time and everything will be OK. Like I said, this movie knows its a sequel, and its commitment to making sure the audience is in on the joke and willingness to poke fun at it’s stars and the movie itself is really what makes 22 Jump Street so damn funny.
Following the movie’s running theme of a bigger budget this time around, we then see Jump Streets new location and upgraded home office (where Korean Jesus is out and Vietnamese Jesus and all his swag are in), the duo are once again under the command of Captain Dickson (played by Ice Cube, who thankfully gets an expanded role and helps contribute to some of the funniest scenes of the movie), who after also telling them to just do the same thing as last time, sends them undercover to college. The mission this time around, catch a drug dealer on campus who is selling a new crazy designer drug before it can spread. Sound familiar, it should, it’s the same plot as the original. 22 Jump Street really does follow the “do the exact same thing as last time” rule to the letter, the only difference…yup, you guessed it, a bigger budget.
As well as doing the same thing as the last time works for this movie, it does create a few problems that keep it from being a perfect sequel. The first being that it suffers from a level of predictability due to this being an almost exact copy of the first film. Everything will feel familiar because you have in fact seen all this before. There is also a lack of character development for the bad guys, something that the first film did do a much better job of. Better villains would’ve been a welcome addition that would’ve made the movie more than just the Tatum and Hill comedy show. The biggest downside to sticking to the same formula however, is there is literally nothing new that will compel haters of the first film to change their mind about this sequel. If you didn’t like 21 Jump Street, there is almost no chance you will enjoy the sequel. Luckily most of these issues are just nitpicking, and none of them stopped me from thoroughly enjoying this movie
22 jump Street is a hilariously over the top sequel that succeeds where so many others have failed by being willing to fully commit to it’s own silliness and always knowing exactly what it wants to be. Truthfully, not since the days of Mel Brooks has a film so intelligently known the humor that makes it work, and committed so thoroughly to jokes at it’s own expense. By refusing to change what it knows it does best, 22 Jump Street becomes a rare occurrence, a sequel that is better than the original, and more than that it might also be the funniest movie you’ll see this year.
I give 22 Jump Street 9/10 reasons you’ll have a hard time finding something that will make you laugh harder this year.