21 Jump Street was a film that I thought was funny on its original viewing, but I didn’t find it as hilarious or over the top hysterical as many others did. Recently, however, after two current viewings, two years later, I’ve come to discover that it is a very funny movie and it holds up incredibly well. Needless to say, I was excited to see what they were going to do with 22 Jump Street and I was excited to be spending more time with these characters. It’s hard to deny their chemistry and it is back and in full force with 22 Jump Street.
This time, we find our friends Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) making their way to the college scene after a girl is found dead thanks to a new drug, much like in the first film in high school. This is a film that is well aware that it is sequel and doesn’t seem to have a problem with acknowledging that fact throughout the film. That’s half of the fun of it, actually. It’s a self aware movie without trying too hard. It knows what it wants to be, succeeds, and we are laughing because of it. That’s the beauty of 22 Jump Street.
This time, however, things have changed in the fact that Jenko is popular in college and even makes the college football team as a star wide receiver. He soon becomes best friends with the quarterback and they find themselves hanging out frequently. This puts a strain on his “bromance” with Jonah Hill’s Schmidt who is starting to feel left out. However, the good news for him is that he has made a girlfriend and is involved in a budding romance. Something just doesn’t seem right without his best friend around as often, though.
One of the many things I enjoyed about 22 Jump Street was the fact that they cut back on the gross factor and left all of their dick jokes at home. In the first one, it was quite excessive and took me out of the film as a viewer at certain points. This time, there is a lot more heart to the story and it’s still raunchy and in-your-face, so don’t feel like the tone has changed. It’s just done in a better way and in a way that feels like it isn’t trying as hard. This is an effortless film with effortless performances.
The laughs come hot and heavy and the chase scenes are fun, inventive, and outside the box. What I enjoy about a sequel like 22 Jump Street is they know they are going to make money and they know people are going to see it. They were right because the film made great first and second week box office numbers. However, they still tried to make a good movie and they didn’t only try to make a good movie, they tried to make a really good movie. I think it’s even better than the original and I think it will also hold up well on multiple viewings.
In the end, I’m proud to say that 22 Jump Street might just end up on my top ten films of 2014. As is often talked about by major critics and even actors, comedy doesn’t always get the respect it deserves when it comes to top ten lists or even award season. However, when a film can make me laugh this often and can do it in such an effortless, smart, and creative way, it is hard not to give it the credit that it deserves. Huge credit, of course, goes to the chemistry between Tatum and Hill. Without them, there is no movie. I’m also happy to report that is a ton of Ice Cube in this movie and he knocks it out of the park.