75%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
90%

The Same but Different

Sequels are a dangerous game to get into. So many times we see the first film blow us away with its originality and we simply cannot get enough. It is because of this that we so often see Hollywood churning out sequels like hotcakes. The audience begs for them and the studios profit off of them. No one knows this, and no one makes it clear that they know it, more than 22 Jump Street. This film exposes and brilliantly takes advantage of all the imperfections and clichés of a sequel. It somehow recycles jokes while at the same time making them freshly comical and blatantly points out that while they are more or less doing the exact same thing as they did in 21 Jump Street, they’re going to make us laugh out loud either way.

22 Jump Street wastes no time picking up right where we left off and they don’t try to hide it. After a painfully funny scene where Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) tells Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) that they are getting a duplicate assignment only in college, the mismatched yet perfect combo of Doug and Brad McQuaid are back in action at Metro City State College. Much like the first film, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) informs Schmidt and Jenko that the school has been taken over by a new super drug and the team has to “infiltrate the dealer and find the supplier.” Sound familiar? The amount of time spent on driving home that this film is the identical set up as its predecessor is somehow absolutely hysterical and only adds quality to the film. There is also no question that listening to Ice Cube tell Hill and Tatum to “Shut the f*ck up!” will always make us laugh.

Jenko (TATUM) and Zook (WYATT RUSSELL) out on the field

Hill and Tatum take seriously different paths once they reach college which is where the true comedy of the film takes its form. Jenko finds his calling with the frat boy football players and slides into the role of the meat head. He immediately clicks with quarterback Zook (Wyatt Russell). These two have a ‘bro-mance’ that is absolutely overflowing with homoerotic innuendo poking fun at this type of relationship we so often see in college. On the other side of the coin is Schmidt’s path into the artsy crowd of the school. A Combination of slam poetry, walks of shame, and moments of finding oneself perfectly play on a lot of the typical characters you find at a school.

Much like the first film Hill and Tatum find themselves at a cross roads as their differences form a wedge between the two of them. The homoerotic theme continues as they even have a therapy session as if they are a couple going through relationship issues. Even when the film so obviously is making fun of itself it still manages to make us cheer when the duo overcomes their differences and works together. While these two seem like the most mismatched pairing you could ever think of they are simply a riot together. In the previous film it was Hill who got to relive a school experience in a better light and this time Tatum finds a positive path. The way these two deal with their differing journeys is fantastic. We see Tatum chasing a dream of what could be a superb mockery of college athletic life. Hill’s spiral into a loner student trying to fit in and find himself provides hilarious moments that are witty and fresh.

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The story is such a quality satire of the typical buddy cop storyline while at the same time throwing in new and entertaining additions. The similarities joked about between the sequel to the movie and the sequel to the police assignment is genius and side slitting. Surprise villain, Mercedes (Jillian Bell) keeps us doubled over with laughter with brilliant jokes about Jonah Hill’s age and one of the most hysterical fight/sex scenes that has ever existed. Tatum puts on another stellar comedic performance clinging to the moronic yet lovable character he created in the first go around. The times when we can quite literally see the wheels spinning in his head while trying to solve the simplest of issues is performed perfectly and always produces a chuckle. Yet again Jonah Hill is best when making fun of himself. His clumsy and sensitive character is always worth a laugh when trying to picture as a cop. It’s even better when watching him attempt physical and athletic obstacles.

What is so impressive about 22 Jump Street is that somehow within the exact same story line as the first film they managed to bring us an original and fun story. A lot of that has to do with the relentless making fun of itself but the bit never wears thin and each joke has its own flare. Against all odds, for the second time, this gang produces another top notch film that is an absolute pleasure to watch. Even while the end credits make fun of the possibility, if they keep this up I hope in 10 years I’ll be sitting down to watch 32 Jump Street.

About The Author

Contributing Writer

Dan graduated from Babson College with a BS in Marketing and Business Management. Since graduating from college, he has moved to Los Angeles where he works as a writer and actor. Dan is working on numerous screen plays and shorts for both TV and film. Some of my work can be seen on Funny Or Die.