Review by-Jarrett Leahy
When a dangerous new synthetic party drug begins pervading the campus of Metro City State, officers Schmidt and Jenko are assigned to go undercover yet again in the hopes they’ll be able to smoke out the mysterious supplier. But when Schmidt begins to suspect that Jenko’s new best friend might be the dealer they were sent to track down, the shared bond of this eternal partnership is put to the ultimate test.
If you haven’t seen 21 Jump Street, have no fear because 22 Jump Street was kind enough to open with a “previously on 21 Jump Street” montage to help get you caught up on the earlier happenings of Schmidt and Jenko. 22 Jump Street is very aware of itself, offering a myriad of jokes letting its audience know that it knows, and knows that you know that it knows. The film enthusiastically pokes fun at the ubiquitous stereotypes surrounding college life, complete with their very own list of essentials for a killer dorm room. Some will find this form of humor to be ingenious, others irritatingly self-referential. Personally, while I wasn’t consumed by an overabundance of laugh out loud jocularity (unlike a fellow movie-goer behind me) overall, I was adequately amused by the movie’s subtle and not so subtle allusions and overtones.
With this latest effort, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have officially joined the annals of memorable buddy cop partnerships. Overtly tongue-in-cheek and playfully irreverential, these two are unafraid to be the butt of the joke. Tatum’s doltish, dumb jock delivery offers surface humor but also masks a more undertone message about acceptance and the dangers of bullying his kind has historically been known for inflicting on others because of antiquated beliefs. In comparison, Hill character’s satirically explores another of the college’s lifestyle conventions, the art crowd. Not into the the frat scene, these new acquaintances sit around the art building drinking wine and having intellectual conversations. Schmidt, in an attempt to impress Maya, an art major with a thing for the husky type, improvs a slam poem at an open mic night that can only be described as dreadfully genius. Their eventual dating leads to an epic confrontation that I can say with little doubt is the most comically entertaining moment of the film.
Similar to the way Bridesmaids (for better or worse) formally introduced Melissa McCarthy to the comedic world, I foresee 22 Jump Street being the official coming out party for Workaholics star Jillian Bell. Her perpetual barrage of callous insults thrown in the general direction of Schmidt’s tender heart is the textbook definition of a scene stealer. And she was so kind to grace us with one of the most awkwardly epic fist fights ever recorded on film between a guy and girl.
A dynamic dyad themselves, 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have teamed up yet again to create this even zanier second effort. Lord and Miller, who also directed The Lego Movie, this year’s early Oscar frontrunner for Best Animated Feature Film, have a gift for unleashing cloyingly astute humor that still manages to push the envelope. For instance, clever ending credits have recently become all the rage. But if there was ever proof that truly ingenious ones could boost up a movie’s grade, look no further than 22 Jump Street’s. Spoiling the parodic epicness of these images would surely take away a portion of their amusement factor, so just be sure to stick around for a few extra minutes of hilarity.
Chock-full of amusing allusions and overtones, 22 Jump Street is another farcical, self-deprecating comedy winner from the directing pair of Lord and Miller. Somehow, the unlikely duo of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have managed to create not one but two charmingly campy installments of this rebooted franchise inspired by an absurdly premised 1980s television show.-JL