Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review 273: "22 Jump Street"

These undercover cops are going to party
like it's their job

21 is Over

      22 Jump Street is the 2014 sequel to the 2012 comedy remake of the original American TV series. The film proved to be a surprise hit with both critics and audiences and now the cast is back for more. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie) and written by Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Oren Uziel (Mortal Kombat: Rebirth) and Rodney Rothman (Grudge Match). The film once again follows Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), member of a police organization known as Jump Street that specialize in sending officers undercover as students. This time, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) sends them to college to investigate a dangerous drug. While their, Schmidt and Jenko find their partnership tested as Schmidt falls for student Maya (Amber Stevens), while Jenko becomes friends with football player Zook (Wyatt Russell).

What they would say is probably funnier than what
I would, so I'll just not.
Jump (Street) the Shark

      22 Jump Street is a movie that very nearly crushes itself, but manages to keep a good balance. The film is so self-aware and name checks, then subverts so many buddy cops comedy (and sequel) cliches that often times the film found itself on the verge of getting annoying. However, much like last time around, directors Lord and Miller manage to balance out the film, with a good story, interesting characters and great humor. Whether or not the film is better than the first one is up for debate. I found it to be about equal, though I can see myself leaning in favor of the original just slightly. Despite the jokes to the contrary, the film really isn't just a rehash of the first, exploring the characters with some nice role reversals thrown in. This is really Hill's movie this time around, no doubt about it and he does a great job too. And while Tatum doesn't have as much to do, he's still fantastic in the role. The film also keeps things fresh with a some really great new settings, including a cool new headquarters built (literally) around a giant pun. A few honestly good twists too and a sequel that was largely unnecessary manages to easily justify it's existence.

Coming Soon

      And that's all I can really say. 22 Jump Street is once again a really damn good, but not perfect, comedy. Telling you exactly why would ruin the fun though, as with all good comedies. Stick around through the credits for what might be the best part of the film, including some hints at 23 Jump Street. Hey, speaking of that, look, this film was a surprise of a big hit. A just under-60 million dollar weekend is awesome and it even managed to destroy How to Train Your Dragon 2, an animated kids movie. Those always win the weekend. But guys, look, I'd be up for a third one. The third one you hinted at could be funny, if that's what you go with. But please, change it up a little. This self-aware making fun of sequel by pointing out the tropes and subverting them thing was funny, but it won't last for a third movie. Plus, if Lord and Miller don't come back, interest will probably go down a lot, even it doesn't mean the film will be bad. Okay? Heh. Also, can you imagine what it must be like for Dreamworks Animation now. The biggest film of the year beaten by an R-rated sequel? Plus, How to Train Your Dragon 3 is one schedule for June 17, 2016, two years from now. And what big comedy film that was just released take two years to make since the one before it and was released in June to big success? Oh yeah, the one that just beat them. I'm not saying it would happen. But 23 Jump Street making fun of the movie the second one beat on the same day the third one of those movie comes out? That'd be funny. Probably.

The safest car ever!
The Verdict

      22 Jump Street is the rare great comedy sequel. While not perfect and a bit much at times, the film is a worthy follow-up to the original. The story is strong, the cast once again is great, the setting fresh, the twists genuinely surprising. Plus, the whole thing's funny as hell. Really, what more could you want? 22 Jump Street gets 5 and a half stars out of 6.

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