Saturday, June 14, 2014

22 Jump Street

The first film's rebooting of the 80s television show with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as a pair of screw-up cops sent in undercover as high school students turned out to be a surprisingly self-aware dumb-fun action-comedy. Those who enjoyed 21 Jump Street and were left wanting more of the same should enjoy the sequel (which even the script by Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman admits, on multiple occasions, is basically the exact same story all over again).

Poking fun not only at the pair of cops attempting to pass themselves off as college freshman but also sequels in general this time around, 22 Jump Street sends officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) to college to track down a new designer drug WHYPHY. Offering the same friendship and fallout dynamic between partners as 21 Jump Street, the sequel also gives gives Schmidt a new love interest (Amber Stevens) while working Ice Cube into a slightly larger role this time around. It's not a great film, and you're certainly going to have to put your brain on hold, but it does provide plenty of dumb fun.

Although the arc is familiar, Hill and Tatum work well together once again. Stevens turns out to be a nice addition to the franchise (whose character works slightly better than Brie Larson's role from the first film), and Wyatt Russell is perfectly cast as Jenko's new frat buddy Zook. For those planning on seeing the film I'd also recommending staying for the first-half of the credit sequence as the movie teases us with endless possible sequels ranging from "Ninja School" to "Culinary School" and even promotional tie-ins for the series.

Much like the first film, the movie succeeds while focusing on the ridiculous nature of its premise and the relationship between its two stars while struggling in other areas. The weakest aspect are the villains (largely absent until our two doofus heroes finally work together to solve the case). Even once revealed the group are either comedic or forgettable rather than anything approaching a legitimate threat - even to the likes of Schmidt and Jenko.

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