The gruesome twosome of Schmidt and Jenko is back in action in 22 Jump Street, only this time these old ass thirty-somethings are trying to pass off as late teen college students at MC State. They’re there on investigation of a new drug exploding on campus, they’re there to party, and who knows…maybe they’re there to find themselves, explore their sexuality, and really get into the acoustic guitar and ultimate frisbee. If you’re expecting something different from 21 Jump Street, you’re not going to find it, nor should you want it…because the right people are involved and made a great comedy that’s fun, witty, and has just enough dick jokes. Even the writers, directors, and actors were humble enough to realize that if they followed the same routine, they can once again drink from the teet of the cash cow that previously blessed them to the tune of $35 million in opening weekend ticket sales.
You can draw similarities between this film and The Hangover 2, but the lack of expectation for 22 Jump Street is the key difference between them. Even though The Hangover 2, in my opinion, was just as outrageously funny as the first, it was highly criticized for having the same exact plot line, with albeit more extreme situations the characters found themselves in. People were expecting more from a team that was innovative at a time when blockbuster comedies were fairly run-of-the-mill. The expectation to innovate wasn’t there with 22 Jump Street; they followed the comedy recipe to the T, but did so with improvisation and great chemistry between the cast. Audiences will be completely fine with thoroughly enjoying the quirky, sibling-like dynamic between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, the anger and sarcasm of Mr. Cube, the dry humor that only the manliest man in the world, Ron Swanson…I mean Nick Offerman, can bring to the table, and the unexpecting banter of Jillian Bell (Workaholics, one of the movie’s brightest stars with a lot of potential.
22 Jump Street dives into the world of the polarizing stereotypes of college life: the hard-partying, beer-chugging, cheap liquor-slinging jocks and the misunderstood artsy types that are more into Franzia, slam poetry, and weird paintings. As Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) try to “infiltrate the dealer and find the supplier” once again, they get split up in their approaches (who saw that coming?), only this time around Jenko ends up with the cool kids and Schmidt is left behind to wallow in self pity, living in a world that is a perpetual sorority girl walk of shame. With a little help from Rob Riggle and Dave Franco, the two get back on the right track in their search for the supplier, and what college movie would be complete without a trip to Spring Break? If only Alien (James Franco) from Spring Breakers made a cameo, this would hands down be the best comedy of the year.
There is a lot to love about 22 Jump Street. Channing Tatum is naturally amazing at making his character dimwitted and slow on the uptake, and say what you want about Jonah Hill’s personality, but he is an amazing actor, and comedy is his forté. I laughed through damn near the whole movie, but I’ve got to be honest and have some criticism. Does the running joke of “we’re making the same movie and doing the same exact thing as before” get a little old? Maybe. Are the dozens of film industry jokes a bit stale? Even though there are a few really clever subtle ones, like a chase scene in front of the “Benjamin Hill School of Film” building…it really did feel like a bunch of film school kids were throwing in inside jokes about movie production to make each other laugh. Okay, now that due diligence is done, here’s my opinion – go see the movie. You’ll be doing yourself a favor if you’re looking for a good laugh.