When it comes to comedy sequels, I have only one observation. There is none. Don’t try to sell me on Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls or any of the tired The Hangover sequels. Those movies can’t match the original and left the audiences with buyer’s remorse. 21 Jump Street became one of the surprise hits of 2012 turning a cult TV show in police film farce. A sequel was green lighted and many thought we would just see a replay of the last film which would lead to the same old jokes. Lucky for movie patrons, the breakout directing duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie) are back to continue the hilarious story they started of Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) in 22 Jump Street.
Lord and Miller keep it fresh in 22 Jump Street by not only making fun of cop dramas, but also throwing the whole idea of sequels into the mix. Even the title plays off the idea that most sequels are dumb. Yet the movie gets funnier this time around by making fun of the fact that it’s basically the same movie again just in a college setting. Sure the roles are reversed with Hill now an outcast and Tatum as a star jock, but isn’t that the theme for most sequels as the surprisingly funny Ice Cube points out in the film.
22 Jump Street also manages to take played out jokes involving the boss’s daughter and makes them one of the on going and very funny gags in the film. Lord and Miller gave us the same old/same old, but managed to create more laughs this time around. Much of the laughs are generated by Channing Tatum. I know this franchise was meant to be a vehicle for Jonah Hill, but Tatum is no longer the scene stealer. He is the star of this franchise.
Since the first Jump Street, Tatum has been winning over the dudes who had hated on him, because of the way their girlfriends and wives drooled over him. I imagine the last of the Tatum detractors will finally cease their criticisms after this performance. Tatum proves he can show off his funny bone just as well as his chest when needed.
That doesn’t mean Hill is a slouch on film. The funniest part of 22 Jump Street involves him and Ice Cube at an unplanned dinner. Plus Tatum’s sweet and dumb Jenko wouldn’t be as funny if it wasn’t for Hill to play off of. Lord and Miller capitalize on the chemistry between Hill and Tatum and give the audience something we have never seen. The best sequel to a comedy that I have ever seen that improves on the original.
Overall I give 22 Jump Street 3.5 out of 4 stars.
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