The Hippo


Jul 15, 2019








22 Jump Street

22 Jump Street (R)
Film Reviews: June 19, 2014

By Amy Diaz

 Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum suit up for another adventure in drugs and education in 22 Jump Street, a delightfully, elegantly stupid follow-up to the 2012 comedy.

Police officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are still going undercover and hunting down bad guys, only now they’re doing it in the digital classroom. Though bummed by their limited opportunity for car chases and bad guy arrests, Schmidt and Jenko do get a chance to arrest the Ghost (Peter Stormare), a big-time local drug dealer. Just as in the last movie’s early scenes, they almost but don’t quite succeed, leading to another conversation in the office of Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman). 
And actually, “just as in the last movie” is their new assignment. Hardy wants the boys to reassume their identities as brothers and head to the local college to break up a drug network selling a dangerous study aid to students. Hardy explains their last assignment did surprisingly well and now they’ve received a big budget increase to do exactly the same thing again, which is what everybody wants to see.
Though that scene perfectly lays out the movie’s ruling principle — let’s make a big-budget sequel so terribly sequelly that it’s awesome — you don’t actually need to get that far into the movie to understand where it’s going. The “previously on Jump Street” sequence that starts the film does a pretty good job of setting the tone, as do little moments throughout the movie, such as when, during a search for a suspect with a specific tattoo, Jenko identifies one possible villain only to have him show off his tattoo of a red herring, which, he explains, is the team mascot of Plainview. 
More jokes about the obvious advanced age of Jenko and Schmidt (the actors are 30 and 34 respectively), more observations of what obvious narcs they are, more tough-guy cop-isms from the mouth of Ice Cube’s Capt. Dickson. This movie takes the Michael Bay approach of making explosions explode and applies it to comedy, taking everything that was ecstatically dumb about the first movie and doubling down on it. 
The movie gets away with this much willful goofiness in part because of the sparkling chemistry between Hill and Tatum. They are here — as in all marketing I’ve seen for the movie — adorable together, which the movie gleefully exploits by giving their partnership all the beats of a romantic relationship: one wants something more, the other one fears abandonment, a bromantic rival to Schmidt for Jenko’s affections appears in the form of Zook (Wyatt Russell). A football player and member of one of the college’s frats, Zook woos Jenko into the bro lifestyle, leading to a further rift between Jenko and Schmidt, who finds he isn’t as immediately popular in “college” as he was in the last movie’s “high school.” Schmidt does meet Maya (Amber Stevens), a girl he bumps into at a slam poetry night (one of the activities where he thinks he’ll find the drug’s supplier). Maya’s presence is, in part, a counterbalance to the new friends Jenko is making. 
Maya’s character development is another example of the movie’s ability to balance the genre (cop action movie) with the satire of same. It is pretty clear that her character is going to be something more than we initially thought and the movie makes that pay off pretty well. In fact, just about everything pays off pretty well, from the goofy drug plot to the suggestions of another sequel — which is answered in one of the best end-credits sequences ever. 
Through it all, Tatum and Hill hold the tone together. The movie is loose and over the top without ever feeling out of control. It can revel in its stupidity because a fair amount of smarts keeps the story together. B+
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with a screenplay by Michael Bacall and Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman (from a story by Michael Bacall & Jonah Hill), 22 Jump Street is an hour and 52 minutes long and is distributed by Columbia Pictures and MGM.

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