22 Jump Street movie review
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Wyatt Russell , Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell
Directors: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
IE Rating: **
What do you expect from a film that not only does not hide what it is trying to do, but practically rubs it in your face? Basically ’22, Jump Street’ does a reboot of what was a reboot in the first place, and doesn’t care who knows it. The result is a lot of, that’s right, same old, not as much fun as the original, but good for a few laughs all the same.
In 2012 came ’21, Jump Street’. It was based on a late 80s cop show of the same name and gave us a couple of cops who were sent to high school to investigate the spread of a `synthetic’ drug. In ‘22’, Jenko ( Tatum), and Schmidt ( Hill) are given a step up, to college, and told in the kind of tone where you can hear capital letters : Do The Same Thing As Last Time.
So that’s what they do, running full-tilt at the directive. First off, each character gets a stab at saying it ( ‘it’ being, basically, ‘do the same thing’), starting with the potty-mouthed police chief ( Cube) who gets first dibs at it. It gets to the point where I wanted to say, okay, we got that, nothing new, now just get on with it, okay?
They do, after a lame start. A drug bust, where Tatum and Hill pull all kinds of old-Hollywood-cop movie jokes, doesn’t go down that well. Slowly, the pace picks up, and the film really only gets going late in the second act, which is fine, because there really is no third act. That would be going off the plan of Doing The Same Thing.
What works for the sequel is what worked before. Tatum and Hill make for likeable lunkheads who think of themselves as cops, but we know better–they are just comics trying to act as cops. As buddy cops they are made to blunder, but as comics they aren’t half bad, riffing off each other, comfortable in each other’s space, able to carry a gag.
Instead of pimply high school students, they are let loose amongst frat boys and girls– a dishy blond jock ( Russell) who displays a sudden yen for Jenko, a smart, wine-sipping arts grad ( Stevens) who turns sweet on Schmidt, and her bad-tempered room-mate ( Bell) who likes no one at all, and who is actually quite good.
The new drug is called, haha, WhyPhy. I won’t tell you what it stands for. It doesn’t really matter, because the whole harebrained plot is up for laughs. As the boys go along, they goof-ball and prat-fall and wise-crack, all the beloved Hollywood physical comic tropes, and come up for air, wagging a long tail that promises a whole bunch of follow-ups.
In the end, the problem with doing the same thing, however ironically served up, takes the film down. It runs a bit too long, and wears a tad thin. But I would urge you to stay for the end credits : there are some knowing, self-referential smiles in there.