Release: Friday, June 13, 2014
We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s yo birthday. . . .
And beer. And vodka. And octopus ink. And a few other unknown substances.
Another year and another Jump Street movie, only this time it seems that even the suits of Sony Pictures felt comfortable with loosening their ties and collars as writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (yes, the guys who brought the world the first edition and also The Lego Movie) stepped forward and appeared eager to dispense with formalities and take the sequel to one of the more surprising comedies of 2012 to a whole new level.
22 Jump Street successfully clears the first (and biggest) hurdle of being not just a sequel, but a sequel to a comedy. History has proven a good many films tend to lose their luster once sequel-ized; a franchise risks losing its identity by forcing one too many installments; studios forgetting where they started because they are blinded by the color green. Shameless cash grabs are unavoidable, with remakes and sequels being the greatest offenders. While we love being entertained what we love more is having the entertainment continue for as long as possible. In a modern context we know this to be true because Netflix has been invented. It’s alive, and it knows you plan to watch more of it. And more, and more.
This compulsion helps to explain certain and often unnecessary theatrical releases: what was once good ought to continue being good. In theory this might be possible but rarely does it actually happen in practice.
Highly-anticipated 22 Jump Street continues to follow Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in their respective roles as Schmidt and Jenko after the events of their last bromantic escapade. This time around, everything is different. . . . .only, it’s the same. In fact it’s almost exactly the same, which is the entire point. We get more of the undeniable chemistry between these two relatively capable albeit low-ranking badges, more of the outrageous scatalogical humor (that I apparently had a problem with in this quite frankly terrible review of 21 Jump Street) and more of the drug-seeking, youth-mingling awkwardness. The only things that really are interchangeable are the setting — instead of high school the boys get to go back to (or really, pretend to attend) college — and the drugs; this time the main threat is in the form of the totally-21st-Century narcotic ‘WHY-PHY’ (because crack and cocaine, that stuff’s for old guys. . .).
Team Lord/Miller strikes again by taking advantage of where they stand now with Schmidt, Jenko, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) et al in 2014. The duo are keenly aware that sequels breed familiarity, a fondness inherent with the characters the moment they first appear on screen. And if there’s one thing the film supremely achieves, it’s gripping the bromance by its love-handles and holding on tightly. The film beautifully embellishes upon the buffoonish friendship between former enemies-turned-bro’s, simultaneously proving that Tatum is able to adapt his talents for this kind of material and that Hill is in as fine a form as he’s ever been comedically.
Their odd relationship is put to the test as their latest assignment requires them to go undercover at the fictitious MC State, thereby forcing them to adjust to an environment in which neither of them have any experience. The ultimate goal, in effect, is to gain the trust of a select few students in an effort to expose and stop the drug ring that’s present there. Where Jenko rediscovers parts of himself in football player and frat brother Zook (Wyatt Russell), Schmidt finds that he doesn’t blend into the hard-partying culture of college as well as his partner. Jealousy sets in. However, he does manage to find a friend in art student Maya (Amber Stevens), but this later turns out to be one of the most unfortunate discoveries of his career.
Jam-packed with outrageous comedy and unrelenting stupidity at almost every turn, 22 Jump Street truly feels like 21 Jump Street: The College Edition. Yes, the shenanigans occasionally dive into the realm of the ridiculous like a twentysomething into the nearest bathroom after a bender, but the level of self-awareness manages to balance out the equation. The end result is a highly enjoyable and surprisingly confident follow-up.
Recommendation: Fans of the original (film, that is) will find plenty to love about the fact that they get to jump again with Hill and Tatum. The pair’s chemistry is even more apparent this time around, and while the jokes and sexual innuendo is no more intelligent or surprising than other films of its ilk, its willingness to acknowledge almost every cliché before, during or after they happen is likely to turn a few more thumbs up than would otherwise be possible if played as a more straightforward story. However, it remains to be seen whether viewers of the 1980s police procedural starring a very young Johnny Depp are willing to latch on to the idea of the show being remade at all.
Running Time: 110 mins.
Quoted: “Yo Sleepy, wassup homie? Everyone saying that Sleepy, he like the Mexican Wolverine!”
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