Published on June 18th, 2014 | by Allan Brown0
22 Jump Street Review
Movie Review: 22 Jump Street (2014)
Running Time: 112 mins
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writers: Oren Uziel (screenplay), Rodney Rothman (screenplay) Michael Bacall (story), Jonah Hill
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Jillian Bell, Amber Stevens, Nick Offerman, Wyatt Russell
Hollywood’s hottest directing duo (who could, if their current track record is anything to go by, give King Midas a run for his money), return to the silver screen for the first time since their runaway hit, The Lego Movie. In 2012 the pair delighted audiences with the sizzling on-screen partnership of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Their comedic chemistry was an instant hit as was the impressive balance between teen comedy antics and action set pieces. That movie was of course 21 Jump Street. The film not only cemented Channing Tatum as a rising star, but unearthed him as a promisingly and versatile actor. When 21 Jump Street returned a massive $140 million at the box office, it was only a matter of time before a sequel was spawned.
This time round, despite Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt’s (Hill) unruly success in 21 Jump Street. Deputy Chief Hardy (Offerman) still does not trust them enough to successfully conduct REAL police work. Therefore, the two undercover outcasts are presented with the exactly the same case again. Well, almost. As this time they’re going to college!
22 Jump Street shuffles along the same routine as its predecessor, not only cloning its narrative structure but most of its jokes as well. Even with five writers on-board, the film at times feels as fresh as last week’s news. However, this is all part of a bigger gag. You see, 22 Jump Street unashamedly mocks itself as a lazy Hollywood sequel, deliberately falling into character stereotypes and narrative déjà-vu. However, this theme of self mocking threads its way through the film with varying degrees of success. While it’s an impressive aim for something resembling wit, the in-joke becomes tiresome like much of the film, and when the characters state “It’s the exact same as last time” believe me, they ain’t lying.
Scenes feel poorly improvised and are allowed to run amok well after their sell by date expires.
The story itself, although a half cooked drugs on campus case, soon focuses more on the bromance between Jenko and Schmidt who are going through some partnership issues. This theme although never subtle, quickly becomes one of the main driving forces behind the otherwise plot-less narrative. However, the metaphorical subtext is quickly replaced by overt homo-eroticism, which again, grows ever so tiresome as each scene plays the same tune as before.
The comedy set-ups are also often hit and miss, some offer amusing antidotes while others quickly overstay their welcome. And just as with Nick Cassavetes’ The Other Woman, many scenes feel poorly improvised and are allowed to run amok well after their sell by date expires.
With that said, even among the inevitable ‘We’re so high‘ and the slow motion beach party panning shots, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill stand out as an incredibly well matched duo. Hill’s comedy timing and facial expressions in answer to the awkward situations he finds himself in, are nothing short of comedy gold. Once again, affirming his position as one of the finest comedy actors of his generation. Tatum also performs well, and although not as comedicly adept as Hill, when they are together playing hand in hand as two useless heroes, he is at his clowning best.
A few laugh out loud moments will undoubtedly be had, but it is certainly not the stand out comedy it has been billed as. And just as Ice Cube declares “I’m getting to Old for this sh*t”, you may well just find yourself whole heartedly agreeing with him.
Summary: All in all, despite the impressive partnership between Tatum and Hill, the film unfortunately fall’s victim to its undercooked script and its deliberate arrogance try anything fresh.