22 Jump Street
|UK Release Date||6th June 2014|
|Director||Lord & Miller|
|Starring||Channing & Jonah|
|Reviewed||8th June 2014|
How on earth did I miss 21 Jump Street? How have I still not seen it? To be fair, I completely missed the Johnny Depp original TV series so I guess at least I’m consistent. Having since witnessed the absolute joy that is The Lego Movie though, I’m front and centre for absolutely anything made by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. I’d watch a tennis match if these pair directed it, that’s how much I trust them.
I’m unsure how necessary seeing the original is but I think I’d probably recommend it before you head out for 22 Jump Street. I’m sure there are a number of in-gags I missed out on but all the same, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of this magnificently goofy movie.
Picking up after the events of 21, this one finds our hapless duo Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) ineptly attempting to take down some sort of smuggling ring. They aren’t even sure what sort of smuggling is occurring until turning up on site and trying to arrest arch criminal The Ghost (Peter Stormare). Needless to say it goes hilariously pear shaped and the pair are soon dragged in front of Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman). Essentially acting as the voice of a jaded audience, Hardy explains to the two that they need to stick to what they did last time, rather than trying anything new. Do EXACTLY what they did last time and everybody is happy.
Schmidt & Jenko are therefore packed off to a church opposite the last church (number 22) to meet up with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). Picking up the jaded audience voice, Dickson explains to the pair that since they did so well last time, the department has been given an unlimited budget so the sky is the limit. Though as they now look older (!?), they are off to college this time to bust a drug ring revolving around the sale of WHYPHY (Work Hard Yes Play Hard Yes). That is, EXACTLY the same as they did last time. The boys head off, fall out, break up, miss each other, go through therapy, get back together and so on….
Everything about this movie works exactly as it’s supposed to and if you’ve seen the original, you’re in for an absolute treat because by all accounts, this trumps it at every turn. The ongoing meta commentary that runs right through the centre is a stroke of genius. Many films have done similar things in the past but this one’s complete commitment to it is a sight to behold. Played absolutely straight with not one knowing wink to the camera it glues the entire thing together. And of course, sitting proudly and affably on top are probably the best comedy buddy pairing I’ve seen for a long time. Favourably compared by a number of people to Laurel & Hardy, Hill and Tatum are the definition of onscreen chemistry (are you watching Seth MacFarlane?). Completely at ease riffing off each other, the pair are just credible enough to stay the right side of slapstick. Whether it be shrieking inane lines during an octopus fight (‘It’s inking in my face!’) or fumbling up shorts in an attempt to find a grenade (‘That’s my dick… that’s my dick also’) the pair are perfectly matched.
The genius between Hill and Tatum is that neither really occupy traditional straight / funny man positions. Tatum is nominally the dumb jock, instantly bonding with the football team on campus and therefore inadvertently sewing the seeds of the couple’s break up. Hill is the slightly more needy of the two, his Schmidt following Jenko around and failing spectacularly at frat hazing. Neither would work at all without the other though, brilliantly adding to the overarching meta theme of the movie.
The supporting cast are equally brilliant. Offerman’s arch-eyebrowed cameo is hilarious, Stormare has great fun sending himself up as the main criminal (gamely legging it through a beach full of nubile bodies resplendent in day-glo pink rucksack) and Ice Cube.... Cornering probably the funniest scenes in the movie, Cube is superb as the permanently furious captain Dickson. Given a big ass pay raise to babysit the pair again, his funniest scenes revolve around a plot twist I won’t spoil but suffice to say I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at a stare in my life.
The female cast fair less well as you’d perhaps expect in such an overtly bromantic movie. Jillian Bell does well though as The Ghost’s daughter, attempting to break into the family business and sharing a quite spectacularly funny extended fight sequence with Hill.
So then, step forward the new saviours of comedy Lord and Miller. Another movie jammed with so many hilarious comedic ideas that you sit in awe that the silver screen hasn’t burst in front of you. 22 Jump Street quite deservedly joins the limited number of movies whose sequels outshine the original - a particularly rare feat for comedies. Hill and Tatum wear Schimdt and Jenko like particularly amusing clothing, leaving us desperate for 23 but at the same time wondering if the same shit can happen to the same guys three time without diminishing returns. From the looks of the gut-bustingly funny end credit sequence though, we should trust in Lord and Miller. For they surely know what they do. Endlessly entertaining, action packed, utterly good natured and wonderfully jammed full of ideas, 22 Jump Street is another joy from these guys.
Check out the trailer here.