I’m yet to watch “21 Jump Street” again since it came out and actually review it, but I’ll say that when I did see it I thought it was actually a surprise in terms of how good it was, I really enjoyed it. The fact that no one truly expected “21” to be worthwhile is made fun of in “22 Jump Street” in quite an amusing way… Along with the fact that “22” is a sequel to a teen movie, and that the headquarters has conveniently moved across the street to accommodate the numerical adjustment to the title. The point is, the movie enjoys mocking itself to no end, and it is actually pretty hilarious for movie fans and fans of comedy alike. “22 Jump Street” will make you laugh more than you might expect, but it isn’t quite as good as the previous entry beyond that.
Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back again to go undercover and, as Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) so eloquently puts… “Infiltrate the dealer, find the supplier”. They are chasing the dealer of a college drug called Why-phy, which has the intensely useful effect of increasing your concentration significantly for four hours, but then after that having you trip out like an ice skating octopus. The premise is the same as the first film but that’s not an issue because the change of setting to college is interesting enough and entertaining enough that I didn’t feel like this was the same movie, even though the movie itself clearly expected me too.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are great in the film, they have decent enough chemistry and the way they juxtapose against each other is very amusing. They fulfil their stereotypes as the jock (for Tatum) and the nerd (for Hill) like you’d expect, unlike the last film that swapped it around. It all works fine and Jonah Hill is a guilty pleasure of mine. Is he the same in every movie he is in? I don’t care. That guy makes me laugh.
“22” is self aware in the best possible way. The first half of the film is littered with jokes that poke fun at sequels and teen movies in general. It’s genuinely hilarious, I would actually go as far as to say this is funnier than “21” was. I was surprised at how often I was laughing to myself because of what was going on in front of me. Watching Schmidt finally manage to climb up onto a truck only to fall off again is wonderful in it’s simplicity and I enjoy “22 Jump Street” to the basic extent that it is easy to kick back and just have a good time, for the most part.
The second half of this film suffers somewhat, I can’t tell whether it was because I was getting bored of the jokes that were technically new but I felt I had heard them before, or whether I was just getting fed up with the movie and it had lost its charm by this point. That’s not to imply the film just suddenly becomes bad, but it doesn’t even come close to comparing to a, quite frankly, brilliant first half. For example, some plot points feel shoe horned in just to wring a few more jokes out of the script. I’m looking at Captain Dickson’s death threats for a mistake Schmidt had made. I won’t spoil it because the whole thing is somewhat amusing but it feels too focused on and detracts from the rest of the film which has had to come to a stand still for a few more quips.
A big problem I have is with the film’s climax. The final skirmish of the movie is dragged out to a ridiculous length and it really did become tedious by that point. One scene I really found just cringe worthy in its length and lack of worthwhile humour involved Jonah Hill and a girl screaming at each other during a stand off because she apparently lent in for a kiss. It’s dragged out like Mr Fantastic getting his nose caught on the spinning teacups, but its nowhere near as entertaining as that would be.
I know the target demographic (which is my age group) will love it, and for once I’m OK with that. “22 Jump Street” has its issues but honestly for a movie like this it did damn well for itself and I can’t deny it points for its surprising (but not consistent) intelligence and just general sensitivity to the teen funny bone. I think even adults may like it for what it is, and that’s a funny movie.