I didn’t bother seeing “21 Jump Street” when it came out because it looked like it was going to be a dud. Apparently it wasn’t. So I went to see what the hype was all about with “22 Jump Street”. I didn’t even need to see 21 because of the recap in the beginning of the movie, and the sequel actually turned out to be a funny, self-aware buddy comedy!
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are back as Schmidt and Jenko. From the jump the film uses every trope from the 80’s buddy cop films while somehow managing to acknowledge it with wit. Ice Cube plays an authentically hilarious, always angry, Captain Dickson. You know, like the angry black captain that was always yelling at Eddie in “Beverly Hills Cop”, but believable. The assignment is simple. In fact, it’s the same as its’ predecessor. Schmidt and Jenko must infiltrate a college campus, find the bad guy, and bring the criminal to justice.
The two quickly fall into their roles. Schmidt is the nerdy, socially awkward student while Jenko quickly falls in with the in crowd. As the duo try to dig up and follow leads, their differences get in the way. They bicker like a young college couple which turns into some funny gags, although sometimes it gets a little old.
Watching Hill and Tatum make fun of themselves, each other, and Hollywood stereotypes all while somehow managing not to be a wink fest is really what the film is about. What works for the movie is that it is able to poke fun of itself while continuing to move forward. It never gets too bogged down in making a joke or point, and when a joke goes for a while it’s actually funny! Credit the writing team of Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman for penning a buddy movie comedy within a mystery.
There are clear moments when the stars and lesser members of the cast have moments to shine, and boy do they! I’m usually not a Channing Tatum fan, but this movie is perfect for him. Ice Cube has a memorably funny interaction with Hill that gives the “angry captain” a reason to be! Jillian Bell (“Bridesmaids”) steals the scene every time she’s up against Hill, and I think that’s hard to do when he’s on a roll.
There are some overused gags in the film, but as the film continues to move forward there is always a new spin on an old take. This isn’t a classic comedy that’s a must have for your collection, but it delivers. Overall, I had a good time and I think you will too!