Sunday, June 15, 2014


Phil Lord and Christopher Miller know their "22 Jump Street" is another studio-demanded blockbuster sequel with the exact same premise and double the budget. And they want you to know that they know it. The movie is an entire running joke on unnecessary sequels and Hollywood excess, a self-referential gag reel of meta jokes and knowing winks to the audience to the point of nearly busting through the fourth wall.

The police department has doubled the budget (wink) and moved their headquarters across the street to a new address (wink) where everything is bigger and better, just like a sequel should be. After a case that had nothing to do with going undercover in an educational setting goes horribly wrong, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are summoned to the deputy chief's office, who's once again played by Nick Offerman, and explains why everything must be exactly the way it was last time (wink). The way he delivers these lines so deadpan, saying how pointless this whole thing is, you can't help but smirk and appreciate these guys -- including returning screenwriter Michael Bacall -- for knowing exactly what they're doing.

The problem, however, comes in relying too much on these jokes to blatantly mask the repetition and lack of originality. This time the bromantical duo are headed to college instead of high school. This time Jenko gets in with the cool crowd and lands himself a spot on the football team while Schmidt feels left out. See? It's like the same...but different. But hey, they know that!

The action gets revved up to the next level of explosive set pieces and shoot-outs but the zany, off-the-wall outrageous nature of the first outing either is missing or feels too been there, done that. When the jokes work, they really work, but there are too many moments that fall curiously flat. Hill and Tatum, however, not only keep up their bromance momentum but manage to take it to new heights, proving still to be a solid comedic duo. Noteworthy newcomers The Lucas Brothers and Jillian Bell are fresh, funny talent involved in the chaos, too.

And then come the credits, the laugh-out-loud funniest and most wildly clever part of the entire movie. It also serves as the final nail in the coffin that sequel-itis certainly was the joke all along and unfortunately "22 Jump Street" -- try as hard as it does to remain aware and keep above it -- ultimately falls victim to itself.

My review of "21 Jump Street"

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