There was quite a bit of dissent when it was announced they were making a 21 Jump Street movie. After all, 21 Jump Street was a fondly remembered serious crime drama starring king of the world Johnny Depp. As such, putting it in the hands of a comedy director team Phil Lord and Chris Miller was expected to only the tarnish the name. What they did was create a fantastic comedy that played with the fact that it was a reboot and featured one of the best cameo scenes in film history. Sure, it wasn’t the same as the 21 Jump Street show, but it was a hysterical romp through high school and cop drama tropes that was successful enough to warrant a sequel.
As you know, 22 Jump Street loves to point out that at every opportunity a sequel means a bigger budget, more explosive action and more general awesomeness. Sequels are also just the same thing again, the exact same thing, exactly as the last time. Exactly. So do you want more of the same, exactly the same as last time? The real difference is, and you’ll know if you seen such fine films as The Hangover Part 2, that most of the time the sequels to comedies are terrible. At their best they’re good, but not as good as the first like Anchorman 2 or The Naked Gun 2 ½. By playing with the very nature of having a sequel, 22 Jump Street manages to pull off a film that’s better than the first.
After busting high school drug ring, Schmidt and Jenko are riding high. Unfortunately a screw up lands them back at Jump Street because they seem good at tackling a certain type of case. Thankfully, the latest is a case almost identical to their last, so they should hit it out of the park. The only difference is instead of infiltrating the dealers and finding the suppliers in high school, they’ll be doing it in college. Prepare yourself for the next level of Schmidt and Jenko’s shenanigans like only college kids can cause.
For the first two acts, you’ll find a plot that is almost identical to the first movie, but with so many more self-referential jokes. It goes to show how little the plot of the movie actually matters and how much more important the character beats and actual jokes are to the quality of a comedy. It also demonstrates how much a decent plot can add to the experience when the movie turns the story on its head in the third act, while still somewhat remaining true to doing the exact same thing again. If that’s hard to understand, believe me it’s hard to explain as well, but 22 Jump Street is so great that I wouldn’t want to spoil any of it for you.
It’s definitely strange to have this be the second sequel that I’ve seen in the span of a week that manages to surpass the original in every way. How To Train Your Dragon 2 deserves credit in its own right, but the real surprise does lay with 22 Jump Street. Can you name a sequel to a comedy that is better than the first? The first knocked the piss out of reboots and 22 Jump Street kicks the piss out of sequels, but not in a way you’ve ever seen before. It also happens to have my favorite credit sequence/after credits stinger, but that’s probably because I love outrageously stupid things. If you like fun and laughter, 22 Jump Street is the movie for you.
In Theaters: June 13, 2014
Runtime: 112 min
Rating: Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Director: Chris Miller and Phil Lord
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Nick Offerman
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Official Site: http://www.22jumpstreetmovie.com/site/