Monday, June 23, 2014

REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

22 Jump Street

Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum


June 13, 2014

Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Columbia Pictures

1 hour 52 minutes



Frequently it's been seen that movie studios think that making a sequel to a hit film by using the same type of formula guarantees a good film on their hands.  "22 Jump Street" cleverly lets us know this literally 10 minutes in.  Jenko and Schmidt have been assigned to do the same exact stuff from the first film, find the supplier of a series of drugs that has killed a student, only this time in a college setting, and throughout the movie it keeps being mentioned that this is basically the same case that the partners covered in the first film.  Unfortunately for the movie, it seemed as if they relied on this self aware joke like a crutch, which made certain sequences, especially during the end credits, feel repetitive and tired.  Having said that, that didn't take anything away from my personal enjoyment from the film itself.  In terms of comedy sequels, this one ranks amongst some of the best and funniest around.  As a comedy in 2014, though, there are several films that I found a lot funnier than this.  But still, "22 Jump Street" doesn't disappoint, as it is hilarious, smart, and really entertaining throughout.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum's chemistry has only grown stronger between movies, because they are better than ever together in this film.  Tatum, believe it or not, actually manages to be funnier than Jonah overall, as he is given a lot more to do and is able to generate a lot more laughs just by simple reactions he has to certain things.  I feel that he has found his sweet spot in movies as this comedic lead because he just nails it all around.  Hill is still funny and really good in the movie, don't get me wrong, but Tatum steals so many more scenes than Hill does overall.  Having said that, these two couldn't even compare to how laugh-out-loud hilarious Ice Cube is in this movie.

Ice Cube is given a lot more to do in this movie than in the first film.  He still plays the angry black captain here, but his role is extended in ways that I cannot say without spoiling possibly the funniest thing about the movie.  His reaction to something in the film literally had me dying in laughter from how flat out funny it was.  If there's any thing everyone will most likely take away from this film, it's Ice Cube's performance.  Someone who also manages to steal her scenes with flying colors is Jillian Bell.  This girl, best known for her work on the show "Workacholics," plays someone who constantly points out how old Jonah Hill looks to her every time she interacts with him.  This might sound like something that would get very old very fast, but her delivery is what makes each old remark quite funny.  This girl should be in a lot more films, maybe one day even getting a lead role in something.  These four people are really the only four actors you'll think about in the overall film, aside from the hilarious cameos, though everyone was good overall.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are really on a roll with their careers thus far.  They have successfully been able to go from PG-friendly animated films to R-rated raunchy films and back with no hiccups so far.  Their style of filmmaking is so fast and spot on that it's easy to see that they share a similar mindset in terms of their cinematic creations.  They are so good that they're able to translate their styles of filmmaking onto a screenplay they didn't even write, which I feel is something that is quite challenging to do.  Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman all understand the fact that sequels do the same thing as the first film almost every time, and they clearly show that in this film's screenplay.  Having said that, I felt that they tried to use that joke as a bit of a crutch for a good portion of the movie, and some of it got a bit repetitive and stupid to a point where I was like "Ok guys, you can stop now."  But still, they made one hell of an entertaining script for an entertaining sequel, so I'm quite happy at least about that.

"22 Jump Street" had me laughing from start to finish, more so in the second half than in the first half though.  This movie was not as funny, sweet, or engaging as "21 Jump Street," but then again, most sequels are like that, and that's always been the norm with a couple of notable exceptions.  Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill share some great chemistry together, and overall are really good in the film.  Ice Cube, though, steals the show, and Jillian Bell may be the true breakout star of this movie.  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller share an incredible talent and together, with the help of the film's screenwriters, have managed to make an entertaining and hilarious, though a little too self aware, movie sequel.  The whole joke about this sequel being the same as the first film might go on a little too much at times, particularly in the movie's end credits, but when the jokes hit hard, they really do hit HARD.  Definitely check out this sequel if you enjoyed the original "21 Jump Street" and you can't stand it when Hollywood repeats itself in the sequels to good/great movies.


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