22 Jump Street-Review

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By:Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

‚ÄčThere’s the old adage, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But when it comes to movies, and specifically sequels, it’s almost a sin to completely re-hash the same story from the first film.
When this is done, we are often left with something that is successful from a financial standpoint but ends up leaving a bad taste in audience members’ mouths. (Prime example: The Hangover 2.) So what does a filmmaker do? They present a very similar story with just enough tweaks and jokes about the film itself that the audience understands we’re getting something similar, but we’re going to have fun all the same. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the latest from directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, 22 Jump Street.

If you don’t remember much about 21 Jump Street, don’t worry, because the film opens up like a TV episode by giving us a recap of what happened previously. Undercover mismatched buddy cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), having had success in their high school undercover stint, just aren’t quite cutting it as normal cops. So they are given an assignment to do exactly as they did before, but this time they are going to college. Their old base of operation, the Korean church with Korean Jesus, was bought back by the Koreans, so the operation has moved across the street to another abandoned church (how fortunate!) – a Vietnamese church with a Vietnamese Jesus. This building is bigger, as the Jump Street program has expanded, plus Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) has a new office that looks like a “big cube of ice”. Yeah, he’s flossin’!

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There’s a new drug being introduced in the college scene which has killed one student so far. The drug is WHYPHY (Work Hard? Yes. Play Hard? Yes) and Schmidt and Jenko need to find the dealer and get the drug off the street before more deaths occur. Where as in 21 Jump Street, Schmidt found success in high school, leaving Jenko out in the cold, the tables are reversed with Jenko being the big man on campus and Schmidt feeling like the outcast. But will the allures of college life (parties, women, football) sidetrack the college operation? Will Schmidt and Jenko be able to remain a team? Will WHYPHY take more lives and will the Jump Street program be closed for good? It’s up to Schmidt and Jenko to find a way to work through it all and succeed in an environment fit for the most unlikely of undercover officers.

What worked for 21 Jump Street is back, but polished up a little so things feel smoother. Of course, when you have everyone back, things are easier the second time around due to familiarity with each other. Then you have all of the tongue-in-cheek jokes related to sequels not being as good as the predecessors, parodies of over the top films like Fast and Furious, and taking the bromance relationship to another level, bordering on something else at times. You also have the fact that you have two men in their thirties portraying kids who just graduated high school, which doesn’t get past many people. The jokes, for the most part, are well-written and are delivered with fervor from the actors. Ice Cube also has one of the best comedic moments in the film, which was well-received.

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The movie comes in at a little under two hours in length, but there are times where it feels that some parts could have still been cut. There are some episodes of narrative that just don’t come off as being completely necessary to the overall story and appear to be there to add a little fluff to the film. There are also a few new characters introduced, but none of them turn out to be very memorable aside from maybe the identical twins who say the exact same things. And, with any comedy, not every joke is going to be laugh-out-loud funny, but 22 Jump Street knows exactly what it is and sticks to its guns, so we commend them for that.

22 Jump Street is a buddy comedy through and through, and the mismatched pairing of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum just works. The story may feel re-hashed from the original film, but there is still plenty of comedy and fun to be had this time around. Plus, who doesn’t like the hijinks of college life? Ladies and gentlemen, summer is here, and 22 Jump Street does enough to get you into the theaters for a good time.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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