22 Jump Street: A Film Review

Courtesy of imdb.com
Courtesy of imdb.com

The raunchy sequel to 21 Jump Street22 Jump Street, has finally hit the theaters. It stars Jonah Hill as the emotionally co-dependent Schmidt and Channing Tatum as the dim-witted Jenko. This time around, the two “brothers” enter college after the death of a student, hoping to stop the spread of a synthetic drug called “Whyphy.” Schmidt and Jenko struggle with the same tension from the first film: growing apart. Except this time, Jenko is the one thriving since he joins the football team and a frat house in order to get closer to the suspected dealer.

Hill and Tatum’s performances are hysterical. No other actors could have successfully played their respective roles. The ease and charisma within their dynamic enhances each of their throwaway one-liners, of which there are many. Their performances are also well supported by the other actors, like Ice Cube as Captain Dickson and Jillian Bell as Mercedes. Bell’s facetious performance manages to be both amusing and droll. The cast dynamically works together as they hit each joke in a well-timed, almost casual manner, preventing the actors from overacting — which is often the case with most comedies.

The film is very self-deprecating. Distinctly aware that it’s a sequel, the directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are not afraid to poke fun at it for being such. Cursed with the unoriginality of being a sequel, 22 Jump Street turns that trope into a joke. The movie almost idealizes 21 Jump Street, aware that the sequel can never quite live up to the original. Not only does the film center on self-aware jokes, but it is also rife with hilariously intentional homoeroticism. Between Schmidt and Jenko’s relationship and Jenko and Zook’s relationship (Zook played by Wyatt Russell), the best jokes of the film predominately revolve around said eroticism.

22 Jump Street differs from most mainstream comedies. Although it has the same amount of stupidity as most comedies, the film manages to stray slightly from simply a verbal form of comedy.  The jokes in comedies often revolve around verbal comedy while some directors use a visual type of comedy, using the camera to tell a joke.  Edgar Wright — his most notable works being Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — incorporates this type of visual comedy into his work. While Miller and Lord do not use this type of visual comedy, they use a type of auditory one. The infusion of timely sound effects and music adds an entertaining aspect to the film, making it slightly more artful than other comedies.

The film, although a worthy sequel, does not succeed in being as funny as the original. As a stand-alone movie, though,  22 Jump Street may be one of the best comedies to come out this year thus far. If you need to beat the summer heat, or if you are in need of a good laugh, head to the movie theaters to see 22 Jump Street.


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