Director: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Peter Stormare, Ice Cube, Rob Riggle and Amber Stevens
Running Time: 112 minutes
Release Date: June 6th
22 Jump Street doesn’t always hit the mark but its likeable leads and its willingness to make jokes at its own expense makes for a silly and enjoyable sequel.
The original film was a surprise hit that rebooted an old TV franchise and focused on two mismatched cops going undercover in a high school. In the sequel, Schmidt and Jenko pose as college students in an effort to infiltrate the drug ring behind an experimental new drug called WHY-PHY.
So far, so predictable.
This time around, it is Channing Tatum’s Jenko who thrives in the new college setting. He quickly assimilates into the American football and frat boy cultures and he meets a soulmate in the college’s dim quarterback, played by Wyatt Russell.
This threatens to undermine the bromance between the two partners but Schmidt (Jonah Hill) has a distraction of his own in the form of a beautiful art student called Maya, played by Amber Stevens.
For the sequel, the writers mine the odd couple relationship between the nerdy slob and the dopey jock for all its worth. Hill is as reliable as ever but he also leaves space for Tatum to demonstrate the brilliant comic timing that was such a revelation in the first film.
The supporting cast doesn’t get as much time to shine but Jillian Bell is in scene-stealing form as Maya’s acerbic roommate and her quickfire put-downs contain some of the film’s best lines.
There are knowing nods to the likes of Bad Boys and Lethal Weapon and there is even an unlikely homage to Benny Hill at one point.
22 Jump Street doesn’t stray too far from a winning formula but it lacks the freshness of its predecessor. The makers may be able to reference all the perils of comedy sequels but they still fall into some of the same pitfalls when revisiting old ground.
They delve into the homoerotic undertones in the cops’ relationship at length but it gets a bit laboured and there are only a few jokes that really find their mark. Its take on college stereotypes is not particularly insightful and the jibes at its own expense can also become slightly repetitive.
The writers have included plenty of in-jokes and a conveyor belt of gags but the script could definitely have been tighter. Despite this, having two immensely likeable leads compensates for many of the film’s failings and the jokes that work take up much of the slack.
22 Jump Street inevitably struggles to reach the heights of the original but the chemistry between Hill and Tatum ensures that there are some decent laughs along the way.