22 Jump Street (2014)

22 Jump Street (2014)

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Trying to do something different apparently doesn't work.
Trying to do something different apparently doesn’t work.

Twitter Plot Summary: Schmidt and Jenko reunite for a case that’s exactly the same as the original, except they’re in college and it’s all meta.

Five Point Summary:

1. Trying something different.
2. Back to the old routine.
3. Angry Captain Dickson.
4. Separate ways.
5. Spring break, y’all.

22 Jump Street plays up to the fact that sequels frequently cover the same ground and are usually inferior to the original. By knowingly acknowledging that this is a follow-up movie with a bigger budget (just check out the new 22 Jump Street base of operations) and the possibility of more on the way (23 Jump Street signs and associated character dialogue blatantly signpost it), it subverts most of the established problems that sequels face. Once you’ve made a joke of this, you have carte blanche to do whatever you like.

In this case it does actually mean replicating the plot of the original (another point heavily emphasised after they open the movie by doing something slightly different and failing in their task), but this time the pair are sent off to college rather than high school. Villain duties are provided by the ever reliable Peter Stormare, although there isn’t actually much to his villainy – his role is more along the lines of presenting a “bad guy” face for the good guys to battle against. His plan is secondary to the investigation as Schmidt and Jenko find themselves separated by their differing opinions on how to tackle the matter. Jenko finds his calling as an American Footballer and bonds with a student who reflects many of his own traits. Schmidt meanwhile finds himself involved with the arts and humanities group, meeting the lovely Maya and her old-hating roommate Mercedes.

It might be a little too long but the jokes are numerous and keep things moving. The interplay between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum keeps the bromance flowing, and essentially sets it up as a rom-com in all but name. A scene in a psychologist’s office confirms this – as if you needed it pointing out. Channing Tatum is often described as being a bit on the simple side, your typical example of good looking guy without much in the brains department, but that’s too easy a stereotype to apply. Based solely on his performance here, he knows exactly what he’s doing and clearly has talent, be it comedic or otherwise. His particular highlight, without spoilers, involves the ping of a microwave. Jonah Hill meanwhile is clearly marking his territory (thankfully not like a cat) as a standout comedy performer in his own right after playing second fiddle in many an Apatow/Seth Rogen production.

Spring Break, now that's how you end a movie. Maybe.
Spring Break, now that’s how you end a movie. Maybe.

Ice Cube provides the best supporting performance, his Captain Dickson is a source of great amusement and has the ability to conjure a laugh with just a simple, venomous glance. Nick Offerman’s moustache also puts in a sterling performance, followed thereafter by Nick Offerman himself.

Even managing to wring a huge number of laughs out of the end credits, 22 Jump Street marks the funniest film of the year thus far, and furthermore sets out Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, erstwhile writers/directors of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie and the Jump Street series, as perhaps the hottest comedy talent in Hollywood at the moment.

Score: 4/5

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