The sequel is a tricky idea and especially hard to surpass the original.  Sure you have your Godfather 2‘s and your Empire Strikes Back, but rarely does the sequel come close to the original.  Typically the thinking is to just throw more money at the second film, and the results will be twice as special.  More money equals bigger sets, more explosions, exotic locations, and just more expensive everything.  22 Jump Street is aware of this, and throughout the course of the film, points out just how ridiculous sequels often are.  Directed by the great Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie), 22 Jump Street is able to re-main self-aware from the jump, and point out just how ridiculous the idea is.  While comedies relying on one schtick to carry the often completely misfire (Yes you A Million Ways to Die in the West), 22 Jump Street takes their premiss and runs with it.  The results equate to a hilarious sequel, that while often somewhat clunky, comes out as a success and hopefully somewhat changing how directors/witers/producers view the idea of a sequel.

After their successful narcotics bust in 21 Jump Street, Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) are still on the streets going after drug dealers.  After a failed attempt to bring down the drug dealer known as Ghost (Peter Stormore), Schmidt and Jenko are put back to work under their former boss, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube).  Much like the original, the fellas are getting sent back to school, but this time they’re headed to college.  Their assignment is to find the supplier of a drug known as “WHYPHY”, which has recently killed one of the college’s students.

The chemistry between Hill and Tatum is well-known and quite fantastic.  It’s actually “real and spectacular”.  The two bounce jokes off one-another and use each other to lift the movie out of possible mediocrity.  Sure the script is sharp and the directing is on point, but  the stars are undoubtedly Channing and Jonah.   Both are equally funny, with Tatum possibly getting more laughs than Hill (at least in the screening I attended).  Even Ice Cube (who is often bland) was hilarious.  Being funny seems to be an infectious on a Lord and Miller movie, and 22 Jump Street is no exception.

??????????????Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are on a roll.  These two will be able to pretty much do whatever they want next, and should have carte blanche when deciding their next project.  They had huge success earlier this year with the brilliant The Lego Movie, this after directing their first feature film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 2009.  After people expected nothing from the original 21 Jump Street, Lord and Miller now rightfully have huge anticipation whenever they step behind the camera.

The self-awareness of the sequel never got old.  It rightfully pointed out the inherent flaws with sequels, and does so in different ways, keeping the premise fresh throughout.  While making fun of sequels was the main premise of this sequel, it’s done in unique ways that maintains its humor for the entire show.

While the laughs are consistently spread throughout, the ride isn’t perfect.  22 is not as smooth as its predecessor, and often feels like each scene or gag is just setting up the next scene or gag, as opposed to a movie that flows together.  Looking at 22 Jump Street on a purely cinematic level, you can clearly see the shortcomings.  But in the end, 22 did its job, as I laughed throughout the entire 112 minute runtime.

22-Jump-Street-2-2014-Movie-Images22 Jump Street sets up any upcoming sequel to change, and to not do what sequels have traditionally done.  Bigger is not always better, and just because something works in the original, does not mean you have to do it the same in the sequel (now I’m looking at you Hangover).  Phil Lord and Chris Miller have directed a cohesive enough picture, giving Jonah and Channing the opportunity to shine.  22 Jump Street will hopefully change peoples perception of sequels, and maybe change Hollywood.  If not, at least they’ve crafted a hilariously self-aware movie, that will leave audiences laughing for two hours.

22 Jump Street stars Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Peter Stormare, Ice Cube, Amber Stevens, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, Wyatt Russell, and Dave Franco.

About the Author

Peter Towe
Peter Towe
A graduate of UMASS Boston, I have successfully put off getting a "real" job, and continue to watch, produce, review, and obsess over movies. I lived in Boston while I completed my degree, and now live in Chicago trying the improv thing.