At the end of 21 Jump Street, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) told the bromantic undercover cop duo, Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) that they were going to college. And after an attempt to bust The Ghost (Peter Stormare) goes wrong, they get told that instead, they will be repeating the same assignment all over again, undercover vice--but in college. So off they go to college where the two again find separate niches, find their relationship tested when one of them finds himself popular, get surprised by an unexpected twist and save the day. Look, it's a sequel that jokes about how they're just going to do the same thing again. Of course they do. There are no spoilers here.
And 22 Jump Street leaves no opportunity for shining a light on the fact that they are doing the same exact thing over again unexplored. While it's pretty hilarious at first, by the time that it's being repeated during the film's conflict arc, we've already heard it several times and so it really does little more than point to the fact that, yes, 22 Jump Street is literally doing the exact same story over again, with a change of setting and roles of Schmidt and Jenko. And because of that, the film starts feeling tired. It's still often quite funny, but by the time of the final climactic throwdown during spring break it was hard to feel like the movie was doing anything other than going through the motions. If the point of the film was to do everything that previous film did, but bigger and better and with more money, the one part that fell short is the story. And it shows.
But like I said, many of those motions are very funny and highly memorable, both in the setup of the comedy, like a point that gets Dickson especially angry with Schmidt, and sometimes in the execution, including several hilarious exchanges between Jonah Hill's Schmidt and Jillian Bell's Mercedes. A lot of this is thanks to a sharp comedic script, but it's also due to excellent performances by the returning and new cast. As before, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller bring their willingness to push the limits of reality behind the camera, but always in a self-aware way. Sometimes it does end up being a little too much, like the end credits sequence that was overstuffed with jokes, but there are also times that a few gems appear in the endless barrage of comedic attempts as well.
And its the gems that make what would have otherwise been a rote cash grab enjoyable. If 22 Jump Street had gone as far with the story as it did with everything else in the movie, then you wouldn't be able to say that it went too far in amping up the action and the degree of self-awareness the film possesses. But even if the story parts of the film end up being the most boring parts, it still manages to mostly make up for it by being so funny that you can't help but break the boredom with laughter. I don't know if the credits gag means that the franchise is done for, but I hope it isn't, because it's enjoyable enough I would like to see it off with a bit more of everything--including story and characters the next time. 7/10.
- Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
- Writers: Michael Bacall, Jonah Hill, Rodney Rothman, Oren Uziel
- Principal Cast: Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Channing Tatum
- Feature website | Netflix
- At Daum, IMDb, Naver, Wikipedia (en)
- More Reviews: metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes
- Available at Amazon (US Region A Blu Ray) / (US Region 1 DVD) / (Instant) and iTunes