22 Jump Street
This is the sequel to the 2012 movie 21 Jump Street which is based on the TV show (1987 – 1991) of the same name. I was alive when the original show was on and remember the theme music, but not much else. Oh, and Johnny Depp was in it.
The first film was a very self-aware comedy which had me laughing almost non-stop. Its self-awareness is perhaps the funniest aspect of both these films, and it never goes to the point of parody. This film is a sequel and it knows it is a sequel in a hit franchise (stay tune for the credits to see some amazing coming attractions). It is also aware of audience expectations: do the exact same film with just enough differences to be considered new. By being so honest about its intentions, the film can get away with so much more and be all the funnier for it.
Of course, some of the jokes are cut and paste. For example, both films have Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) tripping out on the drugs they are meant to seize. Thing is, both times are ridiculously funny.
The story this time around has Schmidt and Jenko going undercover as students (again), but this time in college (or University for those of us in the rest of the world) to best a new drug. Everyone in the film knows its ridiculous for these two guys in their 30s to be going undercover, and everyone at the college knows they are cops. They even plan to investigate exactly like they did in the first film. Yet it never borders on the repetitive because this is exactly what we expect and it works.
This film allows the bromance between Schmidt and Jenko to really develop further, it almost gets a little bit weird (several people think they are a gay couple) yet it ends up being quite natural and realistic for two partners to develop this kind of chemistry and (asexual) relationship. It is good to see these two characters develop and not be one-dimensional props for the story and comedy. Sure, Schmidt is needy and Jenko can be the dumb muscle stereotype but they realise their partnership is about complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Not much else happens in this film. There are some good enough chases (especially towards the end where Schmidt and Jenko must minimize the property damage since the department no longer has the budget, which has Jenko making exactly the wrong decisions) and truly funny moments throughout. Yet you do not go see this film for deep insights or emotional growth, you see it to be entertained – which is exactly what this film does in spades.
22 Jump Street is exactly the film you expect, and it knows this all too well. The film is just as self-aware as the first one yet it never becomes over the top or repetitive for the most part. The story is pretty much the same yet we do see the lead characters develop more which should lead to a solid sequel where our leads can just focus on doing what they do best and solve the case. For now, we get a movie which is hilariously funny and entertains.