Movie Review: “22 Jump Street” – Surprisingly Good

Written by Caitlin Cooper June 30, 2014

22 Jump Streey

Sometimes sequels, especially comedy sequels, lose some of the humour and charm of the first installment. “21 Jump Street” did well with audiences, and a sequel aimed to draw in those same audiences a second time. That brings us to “22 Jump Street”. The Jump Street office has a slightly new address, and has been renovated thanks to a bigger budget. Our two hopeless cops are just as incapable of doing good work as ever, and so they’re sent to college to deal with a drug case similar to the one they handled in “21 Jump Street”. The stakes – and the IQs – are higher, and Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) get caught up in college life while struggling to find who’s behind the drug ring and the death of a freshman.

At first, I couldn’t understand why they’d make a sequel when the first movie was funny, but overall unremarkable. “22 Jump Street” follows a very similar formula to the first – in fact, the plot-lines and climactic scenes are incredibly similar -, but it’s executed much better here. While the movie’s main aim is to be ridiculous and crass, it’s also smart at times. There is an underlying promotion of equality – gender, sexuality, etc. – and the characters actually seem to grow. So, the bumbling protagonists aren’t left as flat characters anymore; though, Jenko definitely has a more fleshed out characterization than Schmidt. Both crave what they’ve missed out on by not attending college, but this time they support each other’s dreams.

“What are we supposed to do now?”

“Police work.”

I have to say that Tatum and Hill make a good duo on screen. They come across as genuine friends, and each play their roles well. Tatum is quite good at pretending to be the usually intellectually dull Jenko who’s adept at kicking the asses of baddies. Hill knows how to pull off the nerdy outcast determined to surpass people’s opinion of him.

22 Jump Street

Some of the other cast members are back, but we’re also introduced to new ones that are certainly wildcards (like the girl Schmidt meets at a poetry slam and her roommate). The female characters do get their chance to partake in the fight scenes just a bit, but otherwise are very minor characters with minimal screen time.

“You’re fucking Mr. and Mrs.Smith-ing me.”

Some satire films can be so ridiculous they become just as bad as what they mock, but “22 Jump Street” doesn’t fall victim to this error. The script does have weak moments, but that’s generally balanced with moments of quick and simple lines. Also, the inclusion of slow motion during fights is great in that it makes fun of cop movies which include this in a serious yet cheesy way. They also make fun of typical Hollywood depictions of college, and manage to point out that school can be rewarding and partying can become boring.

22 Jump Street

Overall, “22 Jump Street” manages to avoid bad-sequel-syndrome. It’s a generally entertaining and, at times, smart film that revels in poking fun at typical cop and college movies. The plot is not that different than the first film so it lacks a little originality, but it’s executed better. If they do make “23 Jump Street”, as hinted, let’s hope it improves the franchise too.

My Rating: 7.5/10

22 Jump Street

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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