Cast: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum
Director: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return as a pair of unlikely, bumbling cops in 22 Jump Street, one of those rare comedy sequels that succeeds in delivering even more laughs than its winning original. Returning directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller retain the self-mocking tone of 2012's 21 Jump Street by poking fun at the predictable nature of sequels and their reluctance to take chances.
It's a recurring joke in this film, whose very premise is constructed around it. After successfully busting a high school drug racket in the earlier film, officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are dispatched by their permanently angry boss (Ice Cube) for the exact same assignment. Only this time, they must infiltrate a college to figure out who is behind a major drug dealing operation.
The other running gag in the film involves the 'bromance' between the two men, which serves as a dig at the homoeroticism in so many buddy-cop movies. When Jenko befriends a jock in the college football team, Schmidt becomes jealous. The pair has the funniest beak-up scene in any recent romantic movie or comedy.
All of it works because the directors serve up the jokes at a fast and furious pace, and because Hill and Tatum make such a terrific comic pair. Tatum is especially hilarious as the dumb Jenko; he plays his stupidity to perfection, confusing 'Cate Blanchett' for 'carte blanche' in one scene.
Like in the previous film, the action set-pieces aren't particularly original or impressive, and to be honest nothing about the film feels groundbreaking. This is dumb fun, well performed and cleverly written. And it works. Seems highly unlikely, however, that the directors could pull off a third film around the same slim ideas. But, hey, they've thought about that already. Make sure you stick around for the closing credits where we get a glimpse of what future installments of this franchise may look like if they stick with the same formula.
I'm going with three-and-a-half out of five for 22 Jump Street. It's wildly entertaining, you'll have a blast.