22 JUMP STREET
DIRECTOR: Phil Lord & Chris Miller
CAST: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Wyatt Russell, Jillian Bell, Amber Stevens
CLASSIFICATION: 16 DL
RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes
MAKING fun of sequels and buddy cop movies, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill (pictured) return for a bromance that is absurdly goofy but totally funny.
Also taking the mickey out of the whole 21 Jump Street TV series and their first film, this sequel indulges in self-referential humour, embracing all the problems that making a sequel could possibly saddle you with.
So what if the storyline is predictable, let’s work with that. Clichéd? We love it. Cheap? Us? No ways, screams the sets and even the dialogue courtesy of Ice Cube returning as the captain of the Jump Street programme.
“Last Time on 21 Jump Street”, the legend flashes on the screen and we are given an extremely potted history of what happened, before we are treated to some Bad Boys meets Lethal Weapon shenanigans on screen.
This time around Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill) go undercover at a college, trying to find a drug dealer. Jenko finds his spiritual home on the football team and his absolute brother-from-another-mother in pretty Zook (Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt), to the dismay of Schmidt.
Using dialogue that could have been lifted straight from any generic romcom, Jenko and Schmidt go through a tough time as they adjust to a more grown-up relationship. While the setting is a college dorm, complete with the visual cues so many college fratboy films have taught us to expect, the physical action is that of a buddy cop movie.
Somehow the three genres mesh courtesy of the crackling chemistry between Tatum and Hill who come across as two overgrown adolescents more than a little in love with the idea of who they are when they are around each other.
Everything hinges on this flow between them and the jokes come thick and fast.
They follow a predictable arc, and the character development is superficial at best.
But all of this does not try to be about reality, it is about making you laugh.
While the plot is ridiculous, it is also funny because they don’t take it seriously without satirising the idea (Hollywood just doesn’t get satire on film, so they thankfully just don’t go there) and Hill and Tatum carry the audience with their sheer enthusiasm.
The plot is repetitive and acknowledges the concept.
The whole film is silly and relishes in the idea of its own silliness.
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the duo behind the The Lego Movie) unashamedly embrace their unoriginality, not only taking it to spring break but jumping the shark with glee.
They take the hip comedy style of the moment – meta comedy – and run with it right out of the room.
Hill proves a great foil for Tatum’s comedic timing and physicality (he doesn’t just dance, the parkour jokes are fun, too) and the awkwardness of their relationship is believable.
By the time Hill meets his nemesis he is more than ready to prove that he also has the moves, though whether he does remains to be seen.
The two play their characters seriously and with conviction, and that is what makes the film funny.
If you liked 21 Jump Street or Superbad you will like this.