Saturday, 21 June 2014

Film Review: 22 Jump Street

"Ladies, nobody cared about the Jump Street reboot, but you got lucky - so now, this department has invested a lot of money to make sure Jump Street keeps going", grins Nick Offerman's moustachioed police chief in the first quarter of an hour of 22 Jump Street

Rarely does a film so blatantly poke fun at itself, but the latest comedy from Chris Miller and Phil Lord, self-referential humour is the aim of the game. And 22 Jump Street couldn't have done it better. 

Unlike other cash-grab sequels (cough, Anchorman 2, cough), 22 Jump Street makes no attempt to disguise its less-than-imaginative narrative. From Nick Offerman's police chief to Ice Cube's hilarious Captain Dickson, the mantra throughout runs along the lines of "do the exact same thing again".

Having graduated the pair from high school, the movie stays true to its word, and this time carts Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) off to college where they must again uncover the source of a new synthetic drug on campus. Cue classic college movie antics, from frat parties to football games.

The central duo of Hill and Tatum work really well in the buddy-cop role, with both sharing their time in the limelight. They share a great chemistry together, and it really comes across on-screen.  Hill, an actor who can often divide audiences, doesn't do so here with a performance that is equal parts goofy and sincere. Likewise, Tatum (an actor still finding his groove through a mixture of roles) settles instantly into the loveable meathead with a heart archetype. When stacked against his performances in Magic MikeSide Effects, White House Down and the upcoming talk of Cannes Foxcatcher, Tatum is proving himself to be an actor with range and depth, from action to comedy and drama.

The supporting cast in this film are also great, with Ice Cube taking more of a central role this time around. And whilst other films of his (such as Ride Along) aren't all that super, his role in 22 Jump Street is awesome. I'd even say that he steals the show. One particular scene shared between Hill and Cube is hilarious, and with Tatum, they make a brilliant lead trio.

Amber Stevens is a great (and gorgeous) love interest to Jonah Hill's character (with eyes big enough to rival Amanda Seyfried) whilst Jillian Bell is the gloomy room-mate that drops snide remarks to everyone. Wyatt Russell plays a NFL-loving jock character who starts off somewhere before ending nowhere. Likewise, Craig Roberts (Submarine, Bad Neighbours) crops up for about two seconds, only to be never seen again. Nick Offerman could have had more to do. One suspects their characters were trimmed back to slim down the run-time and maintain focus on the central duo.

Dave Franco and Rob Riggle both return in cameo roles from the first film, which was a nice (if slightly unnecessary) touch. The mobster villains are bland and innocuous as well, with Peter Stormare being the 'villain' but only really in the movie for about ten minutes. This felt like the only really weak link in an otherwise water-tight sequel.

One of the greatest aspects of the film is Chris Miller and Phil Lord's energetic and vibrant direction. It's fast-paced, very visual and continues the strong form the duo exhibited in the first Jump Street film and the Lego Movie. At times, the direction is Edgar Wright-esque, with Scott Pilgrim-style text popping across the screen and enhancing the visual humour. These two directors have definitely been making waves over the last two years, and the assured direction in 22 Jump Street only heightens their street cred.

I also can't stress enough just how silly and self-referential this movie is; at times, it feels like an episode of Community that snorted crack. And it really, really works. The constant witty asides to the film being a sequel, having an identical script as well as the lead duo being "old as shit" to be in college make this an easy movie to get onboard with. After all, its kind of hard to hate a film that knows (and screams about) how ridiculous, over-the-top and goofy it's being.

The Verdict: 8/10

Finally, a comedy film this year that is something to shout about. More Lethal Weapon 2 than Bad Boys 222 Jump Street actually improves upon the original, and basks in its own silliness. Tatum and Hill are a comedy buddy-cop duo akin to Pegg and Frost or Gibson and Glover. The energy from the actors, the jokes and the direction is infectious. Make sure you stay for whole of the end credits.


  1. I agree that Ice Cube stole the show in this one. That particular scene you are talking about was gold.

    1. I know right! The energy from the cast was awesome! Thanks for commenting :)

  2. Nice review, man. Definitely thought this was better than the first (which I also thought was great). Loved the self-referential humor throughout. :)

    1. Thanks for commenting mate :) Glad I decided to see this one at the movies, worth seeing :)



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