22 Jump Street (Review)

No way that car doesn't lean to the right...

No way that car doesn’t lean to the right…

I had zero drive to see 21 Jump Street upon release. I instantly wrote it off as one of the many pointless cash-ins based upon fondly remembered mild entertainments of the 80s. So it was especially surprising and pleasing to find it was actually a very funny and very clever buddy cop film that highlighted an effortless chemistry between leads Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.

A sequel was inevitable. But this all seems to… contractually obligated.

As the film itself quite painfully and frequently points out; sequels rarely work, and there is little point doing anything different, so why not just do the same thing again?

Well allow me to retort. There may be no reason not to do the same thing again (Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Rush Hour 2, not 3), but lazily pointing it out again and again no longer seems clever, it seems increasingly lazy. There are more self-referential ‘jokes’ about how unnecessary and derivative this all is than there are jokes about other stuff. The fact that a couple are admittedly clever (ha – Cate Blanchett) is little justification for not trying a bit harder.

In this film the only difference seems to be that things go more according to the college pecking order playbook; handsome beefcake Tatum becomes the instantly popular football star, while chunky geek Hill (there are scenes where he wears shorts that highlight his non-leading man looks) is consigned to a dorm dwelling outcast, although he does catch the eye of pretty young student Maya (Amber Stevens), which at least does lead to perhaps the funniest scene in the film where Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) gets to lose his shit.

The running suplot likening the friction between the two leads to the break up of a relationship brings a few laughs but is altogether over-used. We get it! They’re like a married couple. And the rationale behind the move to 22 Jump Street, the references to Ice Cube being from… not Straight Outta Compton and stressing that the film’s budget is finite (but really saying something else) similarly chuckle-worthy but hardly laudable in and of themselves.

21 Jump Street gained my admiration by being a tongue in cheek action comedy that poked fun at the genre, all while being a bona fide worthwhile buddy-cop flick. 22 Jump Street has its moments but veers very close to becoming a Scary Movie style spoof flick. Nudge-nudge is fine, but this is very nearly death by a thousand nudges, and for me “Something Cool” was the final elbow…

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. A cash in sequel that won’t waste your time, but I hope it ends here – although some of the possible ’23 + Jump Streets’ in the credits were scarily possible.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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