By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
21 Jump Street was a surprise success. Not only was it a hit commercially and critically, but it also established directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller the go-to guys in the comedy world. It seemed like a no-brainer that Sony would make a sequel, but the real question would be whether or not it would live up. 22 Jump Street is a more grand, hyped-up version of the first film, and I’m glad.
What’s genius about the sequel is that it doesn’t shy away from the fact that it’s a sequel, poking fun at itself throughout. The plot is essentially the same. Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, respectively) are once again called upon to investigate a drug outbreak at a college campus. In the words of their captain (Ice Cube, turning another hilarious performance), “It’s the same case. Do the same thing.” As Schmidt and Jenko delve deep into the investigation their partnership is put to the test, and they discover that maybe things aren’t the same as the first time around.
Lord and Miller know what they’re doing here as does Hill and Michael Bacall, who came up with the story. They know that comedy sequels generally don’t live up to their original, so they play on this fact throughout, just as the first one dealt with how reboots are thought of. Early in the movie when their undercover prescient moved across the street to 22 Jump Street, Tatum joked that they’ll be across the street next year at 23 Jump Street, with Hill saying “let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” These type of moments are like saying to the audience “Hey, we know what this is and you do too. Let’s have fun anyways!”
What I love most was that, it was just awesome. 22 Jump Street isn’t trying to break away from its formula, and it works. I was laughing the whole time right through to the end of the credits. Hill and Tatum’s chemistry is off the charts, taking bromance to the next level. The action sequences are more epic, and you’re hooked right to the very end.
22 Jump Street is an awesome, fun time. If you loved the first one, you will definitely enjoy this go-round. It’s one of the few comedy sequels that are on par with their original, if not better. Whether a third one happens is a up in the air (stick through the credits, because you may see some interesting ideas), but Lord and Miller and the rest of the crew won’t do it just to do it. It’ll have to be done right or not at all. For now, 22 Jump Street is a stellar comedy, and one that you shouldn’t miss this summer.