When 21 Jump Street was released in 2012 no one expected it to be such a success, raking in nearly $140 million worldwide off a reported $40 million budget. As comedy sequels go, they are usually a bitter let down – Anchorman 2 being the most recent example. But what works so well for 22 Jump Street, as it did for its predecessor, is that it does not take itself seriously – in the slightest – and is more than happy to take the mickey out of itself and its over-worked genre of film. Cop-coms have been done to death, but rarely have we seen one as refreshing as this which revels in its own sense of self-mockery.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return to undercover cop work as best chums Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill) in the ultimate case of true ‘bromance’. Last time it was high school for the pair, but this time it is college as all hell breaks loose as they look to crack down on the latest drug to hit campus. With The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returning to oversee proceedings, and Hill himself on script duty, 22 Jump Street is the perfect blend of cheek, wit and zany humour. The jokes are varied, but the film has a real feel of being a parody of its own genre. Stereotypes are played upon and crushed, with predictable patterns broken and twisted ingeniously for their own comic gain.
Even when the humour does not quite come off, it is done in such a charming, care free fashion that you can forgive and forget as the gags come thick and fast. Ice Cube returns as Captain Dickson, and with being given greater screen time he plays his part in some of the movies funniest sequences. Bridesmaids’ Jillian Bell, who puts in a scene stealing performance as the fantastically deadpanned nosy roommate Mercedes, is another huge plus point in a role that involves a surprising twist for the character.
Hill and Tatum, as a pairing, scream predictability. One is the lovable funny man and the other a handsome, yet slightly goofy leading-man type, but there is nothing boring, nor cringeworthy, about them. The predictable nature of such a pairing is turned on its head and it works a treat.
The consistency of humour may not reach the same heights as the 2012 hit, but this sequel, unlike many others, aims high and succeeds – making it every bit as watchable and as, if not more, enjoyable. In a year of film that has lacked a funny bone, 22 Jump Street may not be just the funniest film you see all summer, but this year.