Review - 22 Jump Street

22 Jump Street (2014), R, 112 minutes - I think that everyone can agree that 2012's 21 Jump Street was a surprisingly successful reboot of the Johnny Depp starring television show that aired between 1987 and 1991.  In my mind 22 Jump Street is almost as surprising, primarily because of the way it goes about continuing the buddy cop story of Officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum).

Oftentimes a sequel - especially in the comedic genre - will try so hard to duplicate the successes of the film before it that it becomes formulaic and repetitive.  22 Jump Street actually wholeheartedly embraces this but manages not to overdo it.  Following a bust that goes wrong at the beginning of the film, both Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) and Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) remind Schmidt and Jenko that they got where they are because they didn't do the same old thing, that they need to stick to what they know and go about things they way they did on their previous assignment.  The Jump Street program is now located across the street (the church at 21 Jump Street has been re-opened) and the duo even jokes about moving back across the street next year to yet another HQ location (you guessed it: 23 Jump Street).  After getting the tour of the new digs, which were provided because of an increased budget with expectations of the same successes, Dickson gives Schmidt and Jenko the news that their next assignment will take them to college 'because they look 50' and could no longer pass for high school students.  They go about investigating the case the same way they always have - virtually joined at the hip - but have very little luck.  They get frustrated by the case and with each other, and have a humorously ridiculous break up of sorts in which they decide to explore leads separately.  In the end, they realize that their differences are their strengths and they come together again to solve the case.

Just like its predecessor, 22 Jump Street is quite entertaining.  I was honestly a little worried that this may be a film that suffered from the best parts being shown in the trailer but that was not the case.  As I was watching it, I even feared that the repeated references and inside jokes about bigger budgets and repetition may undermine the film, but that's actually where 22 Jump Street is most successful.  It pushes those points right up to the edge of overkill, then takes a bit of a turn, as its characters do, realizing that in order to grow and get better sometimes you need to do things differently.  That sort of maturity is made possible by the on screen chemistry between Hill and Tatum.  The buddy cop genre can be difficult to pull off well, but these two knock it out of the park.

22 Jump Street is a fun flick and is definitely worth a watch.  Especially if you like either Jonah Hill or Channing Tatum who are proving to be a great comedic pairing.  It isn't absolutely necessary, but I would definitely recommend seeing 2012's 21 Jump Street first if you haven't already.  A majority of inside jokes refer to that film and your enjoyment of this film will be greater.  Either way, this would be a great film to check out over the holiday weekend if you should decide to forgo bigger, flashier recent releases.  If you do give it a look, stay through the credits as they poke fun at themselves with mock-ups of what future Jump Street installments could bring.



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