Directors: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell
Written by: Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman, (also story) Michael Bacall, (story) Jonah Hill, (based on the television show “21 Jump Street”) Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell
Running Time: 112 mins
Release date: 6th June 2014
I openly admit it, I wasn’t a huge fan of 21 Jump Street and I never really understood the huge praise that was heaped upon it. So going into the sequel was like walking on hot coals. Yet these coals I shouldn’t have worried about because 22 Jump Street is a massive improvement and I even found myself laughing out loud, whereas I was giving it’s predecessor the disapproving sniggers.
Schmidt and Jenko as still riding on the crest of a wave after their last big bust but the balloon soon bursts and they are sent back to Jump Street after a failed arrest of a notorious gang lord called The Ghost goes wrong. The boys are sent to college where they have to find who is supplying a new drug but as they go deep undercover, Jenko into the football team, Schmidt into the bohemian art movement, they soon find themselves questioning their own friendship, which makes working together so much harder.
What makes this sequel such a joy is that it doesn’t have to rely on fart, sex or bodily function jokes. This is a film that is now self mocking itself and the whole sequel factory, so we get jokes about the title (they’ve moved across the road to 22 Jump Street because the Koreans have bought their church back) and how they have a much bigger budget to play with.
It also works because the partnership of Schimdt and Jenko work. We know that one is smart and the other is dumb, so there’s plenty of opportunity to use these character traits for some nicely timed gags (one in which a clock ticks while Jenko works out information is hilarious). Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, still riding on a high after The Lego Movie, aren’t as surreal this time round (one of the things that the original worked well with). Instead they have moved on, made the jokes tighter and let the situations play out for the laughs while giving room for their leads to improvise and develop as a friendship.
Some of the best scenes are between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Schimdt and Jenko. They seem a lot more comfortable with their characters and so they can banter and bounce off each other more openly, without having to resort to swearing all the time. In fact, their partnership has heart and you feel for their relationship, even when at its funniest (a therapy session where they are mistaken for lovers is a blast).
The rests of the cast are nicely played out with a bigger role for their potty-mouthed captain, Ice Cube. Julian Bell is a real stand-out as a college girl with a real hatred for Schimdt and his age.
There are still some moments that slow the film down and some of the gags don’t work and when they don’t, you can almost hear the tumbleweed blowing in the wind. It also could have been edited for length and tightened up even more but compared to the first film, this is miles better and a whole lot funnier.
Stay through the credits too for its self parodying continues as we get a glimpse at the future of this series, although I am already looking forward to 23 Jump Street, across the road in a new condominium being built. (Seriously)