21 Jump Street surprised everyone with its hilarious self-aware satire of the original television show as well as action movies in general, can 22 Jump Street live up to the riot that was its predecessor? Yes. It’s the same movie.
Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) return as the undercover cops assigned to infiltrate the dealer and find the supplier of new drug WHYPHY… this time, they’re going to college. Tensions brew between the partners as Jenko befriends Zook, the local jock whom he feels more similar to than his partner. Schmidt, meanwhile, struggles to reclaim the popularity in college that he indadvertedly garnered at High School in the first movie.
The cast is integral to the comedy within these movies. Hill and Tatum’s chemistry stemming from their genuine friendship in real life is phenomenal. For a movie which is so overtly ridiculous in content, the pair slide into the absurdity with shocking normality, their chemistry oozes natural comedy with the paraodies of themselves; Hill the loser and Tatum the dim-witted jock. Then there’s Ice Cube as the stupendous Captain Dickson, playing up the stereotype of ‘the black man’ to extremely humorous effect. Everyone else in the movie takes a step back for this trio, though its Hill and Tatum who steal the show again with pitch-perfect performances not only in comedy, but in several occasions genuine emotion.
The sequel is on par with the first movie because as said, it is the first movie. Directors Lord and Miller who have spawned several self aware comedies such as The Lego Movie and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs play up the idea of sequels never being as good. A briefing scene near the start of the film sets the tone immediately as the duo are told ‘you got lucky with Jump Street, so now the department are piling in a load of money to keep it going’, very self referential towards the movies themselves. Ice Cube affirms this on going joke with ‘It’s the same case as last time… do what you did last time.’ Lord and Miller acknowledged the success of the first movie and bring back all its good points into this sequel, being self aware enough to avoid it looking like a cheap knock off and actually make it an extremely witty feature.
As far as plot goes, it does meander between the personal conflicts of Schmidt and Jenko which on several occasions proves heartfelt. The actual mission to infiltrate the dealer is nothing special, but then again it isn’t meant to be; seeing drinking games and the contrast between Jenko’s party life to Schmidt’s Art Club, accentuated by the great directing of Lord and Miller through constant cross cut editing and separation of the screen not only highlight the differences between the leads, but how they so well compliment each other. The plot is strongest when it develops these characters.
Seriousness aside, the movie is extremely funny. As well as the wit of self referring, there’s plenty of slapstick, pop culture references and arguably the funniest of the lot, the end credits. Be sure to watch them all. All this complimented by an ironically used soundtrack,both the theme of the movie and modern music rounding off this piece of modern comedy.
Hilarious, heartfelt and ironically unique, 22 jump street succeeds as the perfect sequel that rivals the first movie. Party on.