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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » 22 Jump Street
22 Jump Street
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // June 13, 2014
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted June 11, 2014 | E-mail the Author
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In 2012, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller released their hit comedy 21 Jump Street. This comedy remains to be a hysterical motion picture that delivers a high laugh-per-minute ratio. This is a very difficult feat to achieve, since most comedies try too hard to win our affection. It's when a film makes it seem easy is when the magic strikes us. Lord and Miller are most certainly becoming forces to reckon with in Hollywood, as they manage to keep the laughs coming with one feature after another. Yet, it's no secret that sequels, especially those in this genre, are generally disappointing. One of the key elements to 22 Jump Street's success is how self-aware it is. The writers take this knowledge and use it as motivation.

After completing their mission at a high school, things are finally changing in a huge way for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum). However, once they discover that the undercover program received a huge budget increase, they're ordered to do it once again. They must report to Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) and go deep undercover at a local college. A dangerous new drug is surfacing, and it's up to Schmidt and Jenko to find the supplier and put an end to it.

From the very first frame, we're introduced to an extremely high amount of energy that will inevitably be sustained through the entire running time. 22 Jump Street gives us a reminder of "what happened previously" in 21 Jump Street. It's clear that everybody involved in this film had a lot of fun filming it, which proves to be incredibly infectious. You can't help but become invested in this intentionally over-the-top atmosphere. Even the characters mock the idea of this sequel following such a familiar plot structure. Since we haven't had the opportunity to see Schmidt and Jenko on screen together in a few years, it spends time getting us reacquainted with them. This is a smart move made by the filmmakers, giving us more of a reason to care for these characters and their dear friendship. The joke is often made that this friendship is more similar to that of a romantic relationship. While some of these gags can get a bit repetitive, the chemistry between these characters is true.

With the officers going into college, it opens an entirely new world of opportunities that the first film couldn't touch upon. The attitude of university students is completely different than that of high schoolers, causing Schmidt and Jenko to get a little bit more creative. This time, it isn't going to be quite as easy for them to find this supplier with a larger population of possible suspects. Things also change as Jenko becomes popular with the jocks, while Schmidt is left to investigate other places on his own. This leaves us following them individually. We get to see them explore college life, such as classes, parties, working out, and of course some girls. Not only does this allow a wide variety of good jokes, but it also provides a sincere message about becoming independent. This is a problem that many college students face, and our protagonists are just now having to go through it. 22 Jump Street's goal is to get audiences to laugh throughout the picture's duration, but it also explores some worthwhile themes, making the film more than just a big joke.

While some might appreciate these themes, most people will simply care about the jokes. Is this film actually that funny? To answer that question, this picture is absolutely hilarious. This movie has the highest laugh-per-minute ratio in 2014 thus far, and it's doubtful that anything will beat it this year. Writers Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rotham have included countless gags, and the majority of them are hits. Even the more ridiculous of them will at least garner a chuckle. While it may come across a solemn moment or two, it never takes itself too seriously. You'll definitely want to stick around after the film comes to an end, as 22 Jump Street boasts one of the most hysterical end credits in years.

There are a few new characters in this sequel, although none of them are necessarily memorable impacts on the feature. However, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are back as Schmidt and Jenko. Hill might have two Oscar nominations, but he isn't afraid to show his roots in comedy. He's still incredibly fitting in the role, as he brings this character to life. Tatum delivers huge laughs, as he provides this rather dim-witted officer with more personality. Jenko learns a lot from having the opportunity to experience college, as Tatum is a joy to watch here. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum work incredibly well together, as their friendship feels so authentic. Both the humor and the character development are major highlights that these actors succeed in bringing to the screen.

Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have a clear visual goal here. The design is meant to be just as humorous as the screenplay, as it continues to mock generic action films as well as the original series. The visual design is very similar to that of 21 Jump Street, as it remains uniform. However, there are some extra visual gags that are carried out fairly well. 22 Jump Street succeeds with both its visual design, as well as its bombastic audio track that will surely rock theaters around the country.

There are few films out there that are as self-aware and confident as 22 Jump Street. It continues the plot in a smart way that remains focused on what it wants to achieve. There are a few themes that work rather well, as audiences will be sure to care even more for these two officers than ever before. Fortunately, this film is absolutely hilarious. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum will fill the cinema with laughter, as they try to fit into the college scene and once again take down the drug supplier. Some of the jokes become a bit repetitive, but it remains as one entertaining ride. If you aren't laughing throughout the end credits, then you're one hard person to crack. 22 Jump Street is the comedy event of the summer! Highly recommended!

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