Nobody gave a shit about the Jump Street reboot, but you got lucky. So now this department has invested a lot of money to make sure Jump Street keeps going.
Near the start of 22 Jump Street, the sequel to the 2012 reboot of the Jumpstreet franchise, Deputy Hardy (played by Parks & Rec‘s Nick Offerman) throws that fully self aware line of dialogue at the film’s duo that is not only telling of the first film’s ultimate creation and success, but also serves as a preview for the film’s upcoming tongue-in-cheek Meta nature. Director’s Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, hot on the heels of this year’s already successfully great animated film The Lego Film, return as co-directors for 22 Jump Street. They wisely spend the film’s two hour runtime poking fun at the film’s existence while bringing down college films, football films, and the cliched nature of sequels in general.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum also return as the film’s main duo of undercover Cops, bringing the film’s bromance to new heights. The comedic chemistry between the two feels as genuine as ever here in 22. Tatum once again proves just how insanely funny he can be when given stellar material to work with. One of the most memorable scenes within 22 Jump Street is nothing more than Channing Tatum’s character Jenko hilariously reacting to a sudden realization towards a certain plot twist. It’s a simple scene, but it’s played with such precision and gusto from Tatum that you can help but hack up a lung while laughing at it.
Much of 22 Jump Street‘s charm lies within in it’s humor, in an area where most comedy sequels tend to lose it. Right off the bat, the film cheekily acknowledge’s it’s only existence is because “The Head Department” is surprised by the duo’s success the first time around, only this time the Jump Street program gets “twice the budget”. From that point on, any time the film does some kind of super cliche sequel gimmick, such as repeating the plot of the first film, spending the entire last 3rd act in a Spring Break setting, or blowing most of the film’s budget on the opening action sequence, it quickly and brilliantly exploits that.
22 Jump Street is a hilarious and ridiculous summer blockbuster that is as self aware as it is funny. That earnest self awareness helps to create one of the most memorable comedies since Tropic Thunder. Not much actually goes wrong here, actually. Rounded off with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s impeccable chemistry, it’s certainly a worthy way to spend a couple of hours.
I give 22 Jump Street a 4.5 out of 5.
By Richard Pepper