In 2012, 21 Jump Street became one of the best bad ideas Hollywood ever had. It was a reboot of a TV show that nobody asked for, yet it has more heart and originality than most “original” ideas have nowadays have. But of course, when a movie works well, a sequel must be made.
22 Jump Street proves that lightning only strikes twice in Hollywood. It is by far the best movie to come out this summer all while making fun of everything that we have come to know about summer movies.
Just as its predecessor did, 22 Jump Street announces exactly what it is as soon as it possibly can. After Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) botch another mission, the police chief (Nick Offerman) tells them they have to play it safe and do everything exactly as they did before. He talks about unnecessary reboots and budgetary concerns. This is about as meta as you can get without completely deconstructing yourself into a corner.
So Schmidt and Jenko go back to school (college, to be specific) with the same identities and a similar goal of finding a dangerous drug supplier. But of course, they get carried away in their newfound college careers. Schmidt gets a girlfriend (Amber Stevens), Jenko joins the football team, and before, after, and in between, the two of them get involved in some wild parties and do the kind of dumb things that you can only get away with when you are in college.
Like any sequel, 22 Jump Street repeats plenty of elements from its predecessor. While being self-aware of this fact, it does right by building upon, rather than just imitating, an already existing foundation. Yes, 22 Jump Street also has a drug trip sequence, and while this one cannot surpass the sheer joy in the surprise of the original one, it also doesn’t want to be anything like it at all. 22 Jump Street is a lot of familiar premises with very different punchlines.
That there is the spirit of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who are now one of the best director duos working today. With this and The Lego Movie, they are having a banner year of showing that putting a new spin on something old can be just as good as an original idea. Because few ideas are ever completely original, anyway. Every Lord/Miller joint shows that one pop culture item is simply a layer for somebody to build something new on top of it. There’s something radical and rebellious that I really like about that attitude.
Okay, I am getting a little up my own ass here. That is too bad, as 22 Jump Street never does that when it could have in so many places. 22 Jump Street goes meta but then stops before it can be unbearable. It realizes that buddy cop movies need to be taken down a notch, but also that is what everybody came here to see. In that respect, 22 Jump Street is an improvement over 21 Jump Street, as it manages to combine action and humor in a much more seamless way. Not to mention, Hill and Tatum have an unparalleled odd couple chemistry. They are like two improvisors that just can’t read each other and amazingly, that works to their advantage.
22 Jump Street is far and away the funniest movie so far this year, and it is definitely the best blockbuster so far this summer. By the end, you will realize that the Jump Street series doesn’t need a third installment. In fact, that would possibly be dangerous to the legacy of this series. Yet, I still want to see that movie, and that is something I never thought I would say.
Brain Farts From The Edge (Some Spoilers)
- Somebody made an excellent video about how few American directors know how to do visual comedy and that Edgar Wright is the only one who has figured this out. I would like to make an updated version of this video that includes Phil Lord and Chris Miller on the shortlist of people who have figured out visual comedy.
- The 21 Jump Street series has become the comedy equivalent of the Scream franchise.
- Normally, I am not a fan of movies using current pop music. But for some reason it just makes sense here. After all, college kids listen to dubstep. That’s how it is.
- There is a part where Channing Tatum says he wants to be in the secret service and protect the president. Maybe he should check out White House Down.
- The fake sequels in the credits were an act of pure genius. I don’t know which one was my favorite, but I do know that the Seth Rogen and Bill Hader are cameos were much appreciated.
- I never thought jokes about budgets and spending could be this funny.
- For the lunch scene alone, Ice Cube is the MVP of 22 Jump Street.
- I like how they changed the dynamic between Hill and Tatum in 22 Jump Street.
- 22 Jump Street is so openly self-aware that writing a review seems pointless. However, I had a lot of fun writing this.
- At this point, Phil Lord and Chris Miller could direct a Justin Bieber 3D concert movie and I would still pay money to go see it.