It should be no surprise to anyone that the dynamic duo, hilarious tag team of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, are back on the big screen reprising their respective roles from 2012 in the appropriately titled 22 Jump Street (I’ll expand upon that more down below). I last talked about 21 Jump Street in my Blu-ray review over here in 2012 and I’m happy to report that I still have not seen a single episode from the original television series, but I’ve studied enough pop culture and seen enough comedies to pick up on references here and there. I’m smart like that. However, make no mistake. I wasn’t looking forward to this one very much. Like the sequel to the original Hangover film I had my doubts and wondered if this second outing would simply be a cash grab with the same story, etc. set in a different locale. Even if it was, I’d probably laugh, but I’m a movie critic and I want more. I deserve more. Hear me roar! So the question that really matters is did I get what I was looking for? Oh yeah! I got that and so much more!
So I’ll get right to the point. Truth be told, I have not laughed this hard in a theater in years. I know a lot of people will debate this point with me, but I truly thought 2013 was a very lackluster year for comedies in general. Sure you had The World’s End and This Is The End, but those weren’t really my cup of tea. I tolerated them, but I never really fully appreciated them as much as the other reviewers around here did. However, I digress. Let’s get back to why we are all here…22 Jump Street…the sequel to um…21 Jump Street. So not only did this sequel capitalize and exploit everything that made the first film so gut-bustingly funny and fresh, but also 22 Jump Street took things further, twisted plot points around a bit and became so self aware of itself that it was a complete joy to feel like you the spectator were part of the big joke. I love it when films can play out like this and ultimately succeed or should I say pay off.
I’ll skip over all the history lessons in regards to how the original film was based off the 1987 television series, yada yada yada and just cut straight to the chase dispensing only the facts in regards to this sequel. So in addition to Hill and Tatum, Ice Cube, Nick Offerman, Dave Franco and Rob Riggle all reprise their roles from the first film under the helm of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, both of whom I just mentioned over here two days ago. If you can’t tell, these guys have a definite flare and knack for their crafts Damn straight!
The film doesn’t skip a beat as riding off their success in the conclusion of the first film we enter in the heat of pursuit with Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) back on the streets in attempting to infiltrate and bust a narcotic drug lord by the name of Ghost (Peter Stormare). Let’s just say things don’t go as planned here (hilariously so and that’s all I’ll say) and after the failed mission Deputy Chief Hardy (Offerman) sends the duo back to the Jump Street program to work for Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). The only thing that has changed is the fact that the church, Dickson’s headquarters, is now located across the street at you guessed it…22 Jump Street! There assignment is simple, straight forward and pretty much a rehash of the first film (hence my reference to The Hangover Part II syndrome), go undercover as college students and find the supplier of a drug known as…you ready for this?…WHYPHY (pronounced as WiFi), which stands for Work Hard Yes, Play Hard Yes. Pretty original, huh? Don’t worry. It’s not all that bad as it sounds. They actually have a really cool joke in the movie that plays off the pronunciation of the drug’s name and the intelligence of one said character, which I swear I won’t say their name in efforts of not wanting to spoil and ruin any of the fun , laughter and hysteria that you’ll have and succumb to with this feature.
So as you can already guess the movie picks up its steam in Act 2 exactly like the first film did as the guys adjust to their new college dorm lifestyle (versus high school in the first film) despite the fact that you’ll hear this over and over they look older than f#$k to be college students. However, that won’t stop you from having a good time with this one as the jokes are fresh (sometimes reincarnated) and the hilarious moments are plentiful as Hill and Tatum’s chemistry just keeps on ticking no matter how many beatings they take and familiar roads they travel down. It’s almost like they were born for these roles despite Tatum once going on record in regards to his casting on the previous film saying he doesn’t think he’s funny. Well whether that’s true or not (I don’t believe so), when this duo is together the sky’s the limit to how many laughs and pant pissing moments you’ll have with them. The press crowd I was with loved them. Some were even jumping out of their seats from laughter. They could not contain themselves. I don’t know about you, but when you are talking about the comedy genre, having those kind of reactions from audience members that are of the most critical intellect, that’s like finding gold in my opinion.
I guess I would have to debate the critics out there who say they found nothing new here. If you were to say nothing groundbreaking, I would agree with you, but to combat that the film pretty much points those facts out and becomes completely self aware of itself like I already mentioned above. It knows its own pitfall and traps. This kind of allows you to settle in your seat and just enjoy the film for what it is…a comedic good old time with two lads we already shared a pleasurable adventure with ac couple years ago. Now I don’t know how the loyal fans of the 1980’s television show feels about things here, but quite frankly, I don’t care. All I do care about is A) Did I get any on call texts during the screening? No! and B) Did I laugh my a$$ off? Well, hell yes I did! Sounds like the perfect comedy to me. What say you?
If you’re a fan of the first film, I think you’ll find what you are looking for here, familiar territory and so much more. Schmidt even gets lucky (that’s a funny twist in the story you’ll come to find out) and Jenko makes some fantastic catches and cuts on the football field and kind of scares me a bit with his closeness to one male character. Everything you want and probably so much more is right here. So come on in. Don’t be afraid. After you see How to Train Your Dragon 2 this weekend (my full review of that can be seen right here thank you very much), drop the kids off at grandma’s house (if you have kids) and run across the street to 22 Jump Street. You’ll be happy you did. Laughter is the best medicine. And you’ll get plenty of that here. Hill and Tatum have a blast with their characters and it shows. And oh yeah…I’m warning you now so you can’t say I didn’t. Stay around after the credits!