8.1/10 – IMDb
83% – Rotten Tomatoes
Sequels are EVERYWHERE these days. Planes is getting a sequel. Transformers is on round 3,482 this summer. Among all of these superfluous shows, however, lies 22 Jump Street, hot off a huge marketing campaign and the surprisingly wonderful 21 Jump Street. With two young stars on the rise and a clear awareness of the ubiquity of sequels, this second entry from directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller reeked of potential. I had not gone into the theater with expectations so high since…it had been a long time, ok?
Should I pay to see it?
I wish there was some way in-between here. Weak, I know, but it’s the type of movie you want to see in theaters so you can recite quotes and so forth, but I don’t know if I can say it’s worth the steep theater prices. From the start, the movie reminds you over and over and over that it knows the movie world has too many sequels, and the screenwriters relentlessly mock themselves with jokes about Jenko and Schmidt doing the exact same thing as last time. These winks to the audience play well for the bulk of the movie but grow tiresome by the final scenes. Besides those, though, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum once again prove to have stunning chemistry, and Hill especially delivers each line with remarkable timing, making even their smallest moments memorable ones. The jokes take on a similar tone, but this time around Hill gets to play the social pariah while Tatum finds his niche among jocks, the kings of the college world. This small twist allows the actors to ham it up to an extreme, Tatum showing off his physical skills and Hill playing the oversensitive lover to his partner’s BMOC. Both men openly embrace and undermine their reputations; Hill even has gets the chance to mock his “method” now that he’s a serious, Oscar-nominated actor. As we’ll see, some of the gags around them get old, but the undercover “brothers” shine at least as bright as they did across the street.
Could I watch it with a date?
Do goats’ eyes have rectangular pupils? The answer to both questions is the same. Like its predecessor, the film flirts with being a “boy movie” at times, but in general the humor is subtle and clever rather than aggressive and overly vulgar. Amber Stevens (from Greek) and Jillian Bell (of Workaholics) play the main ladies alongside the bumbling cops, and both present strong cases as emerging female comedy stars. I won’t spoil anything, but a twist involving Stevens’ Maya and Schmidt creates some of the funniest movie moments in recent memory. Wyatt Russell and Tatum share a burgeoning, testosteroney bromance, but the relationship granted the most attention remains the one between our leads. They go through ups and downs, therapy and fraternity rushing, walks of shame and moments of glory, but eventually the humorous melodrama gets a little old. Like the movie itself, their interpersonal saga feels drawn out. They move from campus living to spring break partying, but this transition is not executed well. The movie either needed no spring break or a shift much earlier in the narrative. The awkward timing does not sink the movie but rather prevents it from becoming a truly great comedy. There will still be plenty of laughs and lines to share indefinitely; it just feels like small fixes could have made this one of the better comedies of the current era.
Could I watch it with my mother?
For reasons similar to those mentioned in the section above, yes. The movie certainly wasn’t made to be watched with mom, but there’s not enough nudity or profanity or immaturity to make that experience too uncomfortable. Jokes about Hill looking old get…old, but for the most part the running gags work well. Tatum as the jock with a heart of gold and cop with badass stunt skills plays perfectly as it did in the first outing. As I mentioned, you may leave feeling unfulfilled, as if perfection was within reach for the film’s cast and crew, but at its heart this movie set out to make you laugh, and it will certainly succeed in doing so. Even as the credits roll (stick around!), the comedy persists, though that gag also runs a bit too long and inefficient.
Who are we kidding? You didn’t need this post. You’ve probably already seen it.