PHOTO BY SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
22 JUMP STREET
Where is it playing?: Stadium 10
What's it rated?: R
What's it worth?: $7.50
After their successful infiltration of a high school drug ring, undercover police officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) return, this time to a local college to break up a drug ring selling WHYPHY (wifi).
22 Jump Street tries rather hard to avoid the frequent pitfalls of sequels, and, for the most part, succeeds. Though it’s not as fresh or funny as 21 Jump Street, this is a worthy sequel and a welcome addition to the comedy canon.
Anyone who liked 21 Jump Street is almost guaranteed to like 22 Jump Street. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are back as bumbling undercover cops Schmidt and Jenko, Ice Cube reprises his role as the “angry black captain,” and familiar characters from the first film (Rob Riggle, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman) all make returns as well.
If all of that makes 22 Jump Street sound like an unnecessary retread, fear not. This is, perhaps, the most self-aware and meta sequel ever made, constantly riffing on its own ridiculousness. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) have proven themselves to be clever and deft filmmakers, and their winking, absurdist tendencies are well used here.
The plot mechanics are precisely the same: infiltrating a drug ring and busting the bad guys in a scholastic setting, this time in college. Whereas 21 Jump Street had a subversive, original take on the high school experience that was a major source of its unexpectedly rich humor, 22 has nothing groundbreaking to say about college at all.
We visit football games, frat houses, art major parties, dorms, boring lecture halls, and even go on spring break, but all of those collegiate tropes feel depressingly familiar. There are a few novel jokes and well-observed details here and there, but the subversive humor from 21 Jump Street is sorely missed.
All that said, 22 Jump Street is still hilarious, and more than able to coast by on the strength of its cast. Hill and Tatum have undeniable, loony chemistry that is an utter joy to watch, Ice Cube is given even more funny moments (including the film’s most hilarious scene), and newcomers Jillian Bell (Workaholics) and Peter Stormare (Fargo) are both scene-stealers.
22 Jump Street isn’t as funny, well written, or novel as its predecessor, but, well, not many comedies are these days. Lord, Miller, Hill, and Tatum have put in a solid effort here, and it would have been much easier to make a lazier sequel.
Go see 22 Jump Street if you want to laugh, and make sure to stick around for the closing credits, which are an unexpected stroke of genius. (112 min.)
—Rhys Heyden; New Times staff writer