Movie Review – 22 Jump Street (2014)

Directors: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Stars: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell

In this sequel, dynamic duo Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are sent to college to figure out a very similar scheme to the previous movie. Along the way they discover things about themselves and grow as people, but could this cause problems in their deep bond that goes beyond friendship?

In a way this is a pretty easy review to write because if you like 21 Jump Street then you’ll enjoy 22 Jump Street. Tatum and Hill enjoy the same easy chemistry and you can tell that they had fun making the movie, and that’s something that shines through and we as an audience feel included. It’s very aware of its trappings as an action movie and there is a lot meta humour at play. I enjoyed it up to a point but I don’t think the balance was quite right and it felt to me that the story took a backseat to the self-aware humour. Some of the jokes are obvious, but some are more subtle (I won’t spoil them, but I will say that the Spider-Man pose was a highlight).

i was also surprised at how little time was spent on Spring break as from the trailers it seemed like that would take up a large chunk of the movie. Most of it instead highlights the differences between the two cops and tests their relationship. It works because of the chemistry of the actors, but at some points it does feel like a retread of the first movie. But because the comedy was placed at the forefront it meant that the plot actually had some surprising twists. I’m not sure how well it holds up because I’m sure there were some procedural things that wouldn’t have quite worked, but the laughs are so frequent that they quickly dispel any qualms you have with the plot.

Another thing that I wasn’t a fan of, and this is true in a number of film series, is that the love interest from the first film is jettisoned with a mention. I get that people move on and relationships break down etc, but since they’re such an integral part of film plots it feels odd when they don’t get acknowledged in sequels. If I go back and watch 21 Jump Street the romantic plot that Schmidt has won’t hold my interest because I know it won’t really mean anything.

The end credits are some of the best I’ve seen. I’m assuming they’re not intending for any more films in this series but I’d love to see them incorporate some of the ideas that were displayed in the credits.

For fans of the first film this will be a familiar ride. Tatum and Hill’s chemistry gives more of an edge to cliched jokes. If they do go ahead with a third film I don’t think relying on meta humour will be enough, but for now it works and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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