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22 Jump Street takes the concept of “sequel” and literally laughs in its face. It’s hard to name a better acting AND directing duo working on the same movie than Tatum/Hill and Lord/Miller paired together. Chemistry between all characters is at full force, the jokes are nonstop, and just like its predecessor, proves to be the surprise hit of the year.
After their success in the Jump Street program, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) continue their lives as undercover cops, taking their talents to the streets. When they fail to catch a narcotics dealer, they are sent back to Jump Street to work for Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). However, this time the duo is sent undercover to a local college to help bring down a new drug. Jenko quickly makes friends and joins the football team, while Schmidt finds love with an Art major named Maya (Amber Stevens). As the two start to go their separate ways living the college life, development in the case brings them back together, having to travel South for Spring Break where the drug is about to make a massive outbreak.
As far as comedy sequels go, we all know they can be pretty hit-or-miss (leaning mostly towards the “miss” side). 22 Jump Street makes a totally mockery of the “sequel” idea, and all of the characters are completely self-aware. The way 22 Jump avoids the cliche repeats of its predecessor is by making fun of itself. From the opening credits reading “Previously, on 21 Jump Street…” to Ice Cube’s wise-cracks about the Jump Street program now having a bigger budget and lots of new resources; there are so many breaks in the fourth wall that you can’t help but laugh each and every time.
Phil Lord & Chris Miller’s return to directing the sequel is the best move that could have been made, bringing back the same magic that made 21 Jump such a surprise hit in 2012. Fresh off of their massively successful The Lego Movie, it’s hard to imagine anyone not wanting to see what the directing duo would have in store next.
The biggest thing 22 Jump has going for it is the pure chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The arguing couple-like humor never seems to get old between the two; always bitching at and correcting each other in each scene, then making up in the end. The supporting cast, including Ice Cube, the brief return of Rob Riggle and Dave Franco, as well as newcomers Wyatt Russell and Jillian Bell, all make perfect fits to the new installment.
While I wouldn’t go as far as to say 22 is better than 21, this sequel couldn’t get much better. The hilarious bits are continuous enough to never leave a dull moment, and only leave you wanting more. And if this one is just as commercially successful as the first time around, I don’t see why Jump Street wouldn’t be able to “move back across the street and one down”.
– Josh Sazin, 6/14/14