22 Jump Street Review
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In 2012, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill teamed up for a buddy cop comedy remake of TV’s 21 Jump Street (see my review). Despite what seemed like bizarre casting and a questionable story, the film was a surprise (but well-deserved) hit—making a sequel inevitable. Now the two hilarious undercover cops are back for 22 Jump Street—a self-aware follow-up that’s every bit as fun as the original.

22 Jump Street finds Tatum’s Jenko and Hill’s Schmidt assigned to a new case with their old Jump Street team. This time, they’re going undercover at a local college, where another trendy new drug is wreaking havoc on the student body.

Once again, the unlikely buddies find themselves gravitating toward two very different groups during their investigation. Jenko joins the football team, while Schmidt bonds with the moody art students. And as they continue to search for the drug’s supplier, their new friendships threaten to break up their partnership.

During the summer, audiences generally beat the heat with outrageous comedies, big-budget action movies, and lovable rom-coms—but rarely do you find all of those elements wrapped up in one wildly clever package. This over-the-top bromantic buddy cop action comedy has a little bit of something for everyone. It’s action-packed and explosive. It’s madcap and sometimes crude—yet without going too far. And it throws in an amusing twist on the same old romantic comedy.

If you loved 21 Jump Street as much as I did, you’ll find more of the same here. In fact, that’s often the target of the film’s self-deprecating humor. After all, everyone knows that the sequel is never as good as the original, right? Just because it worked once doesn’t mean it’ll work a second time. But this comic franchise somehow manages to avoid falling victim to the dreaded sequel slump. Perhaps that’s because the cast and crew members are all in on the joke—or because Tatum and Hill make such an unexpectedly remarkable comic duo. Or maybe it’s because the writing is so much smarter than a comedy like this has any right to be. Beyond the thinly-veiled references to bad sequels—and the jokes about Schmidt and Jenko being the oldest college freshmen on campus—you’ll find all kinds of surprising twists and references (including a wacky Benny Hill reference that your dad—or maybe your grandpa—will find absolutely hilarious).

Really, the film has just a couple of minor flaws: one poorly-acted supporting character and a lull in the pacing toward the story’s end. You might also find that you miss most of the dialogue during your first viewing—not because the sound is bad or the actors are mumbling but because the audience’s frequent howls of laughter will drown it out.

Fortunately, though, you won’t mind going back for seconds of this outrageous sequel, which proves that a movie doesn’t need to be entirely dim-witted and juvenile to be wildly funny. So forget about the superhero adventures and sci-fi thrillers; 22 Jump Street is this summer’s must-see movie.

Listen to the audio review on Reel Discovery:

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