Directors: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Wyatt Russell, Jillian Bell, Amber Stevens, and Nick Offerman
Review Written By: Michael Dalton (Prime Minister)
Therefore this sequel, the aptly titled 22 Jump Street, had a lot to live up to. With the rave reviews that preview screenings produced only heightening my anticipation and expectation. This time around Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are sent undercover into a local college, once again to take down a drug ring. As their boss Ice Cube frequently reminds them, ‘It’s the same case, do the same thing!’ Yet as they embark upon the mission cracks begin to surface in Schmidt and Jenko’s relationship. With them discovering how they each want to do something different, and how hard it is to recapture that magic of the first time.
22 Jump Street is without a doubt the most brilliantly self-aware film I have ever seen. It makes one of my favourite films of all time, Scream, look amateur in that regard. From the very beginning the Nick Offerman played police chief notes how the department have invested a lot of money to keep Jump Street going. Deriding the deranged belief in Hollywood that spending twice the money will result in twice the profit. This is a film, which takes aim at Hollywood’s reckless nature, with multiple scenes poking fun at the film’s larger budget and the ways in which it has been wasted. With this film being perhaps the first example of a car chase where the characters involved are budget conscious. Those involved are also willing to poke fun at themselves and their careers, with this film single-handedly justifying the existence of Channing Tatum’s, White House Down (If that awesome movie didn’t already do that itself) This all culminates in the best end credits sequence of all time. With the end credits of this film making me laugh more than the entirety of most other recent comedies. It’s refreshing and quite exhilarating to see a summer blockbuster like this continually mock its existence, and then with its end credits completely burn its franchise bridges.
However the genius and success of 22 Jump Street’s humour does not just come from its self-awareness. As was evidenced by its predecessor and The Lego Movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller are two of the wittiest voices in Hollywood. 22 Jump Street is just as relentless with its humour as The Lego Movie. Whilst I am certain that it will prove just as detailed, with repeat viewings bound to provide new jokes. However as is the case with movies of this sort there are misses to go with the hits. Amber Stevens as the love interest Maya gives way to two of the film’s most memorable scenes, however her character isn’t really given the satisfying resolution that her equivalent character in the predecessor, played by Brie Larson, was given. Whilst Jillian Bell’s character is only really given one joke to play with, which is commenting on Jonah Hill’s appearance. Whilst the film doesn’t dissect college life, the way it did high school life, however this is a film with a slightly wider scope than its predecessor, and therefore such an oversight appears to be more of a deliberate and understandable exclusion.
The other primary element, which distinguishes this film, is its heart. This is in many ways the romantic comedy and relationship movie of the year so far. Using a police case as a metaphor for a relationship, the ‘bro-mance’ between Schmidt and Jenko is once again wonderfully worked with and developed. 22 Jump Street is a milestone in modern comedy in many ways. Not only it is perhaps the best comedy sequel, but also the ne plus ultra of this ‘bro-mantic comedy’ craze that has pervaded recent Hollywood comedies. It is work that is only paralleled by the likes of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in the Cornetto Trilogy.
With this and The Lego Movie a few months prior, 2014 is the year of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. This duo has cemented themselves as two of my favourite guys in the industry and I cannot wait to see what they do next. As far as summer blockbusters this year go, 22 Jump Street may be the most complete and satisfying.