After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college.
The movie opens with an amusing “previously on 21 Jump Street” bit before diving headlong into the new story.
Our two favourite undercover cops (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are sent into a local college in order to find out who is supplying a hot new drug called W.H.Y.P. H.Y (Work Hard? Yes! Play Hard? Yes!), that is hooking and killing students. W.H.Y.P. H.Y enables its takers to study with intense focus for four hours and then to party wildly.
22 Jump Street is everything its predecessor was but slicker. Even Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) unsubtly acknowledges the increased budget.
Once the mission begins it becomes clear that the only real difference from last time is the all-too obvious role reversal. 21 Jump Street earned laughs for making dweeby Schmidt (Jonah Hill) into the popular kid as he integrated with the cool nerds whilst Jenko (Channing Tatum) found out that jocks are the new uncool kids. This time around, the formula reverses.
Our favourite law enforcer’s bromance is threatened when Jenko finds himself bonding with a fellow football player who might be the bad guy. Schmidt is left to entertain himself so he begins a romance with a girl named Maya (Amber Stevens).
The only issue is that Amber’s roommate Mercedes (Jillian Bell) is always there when they want to hang out. She’s a mega third wheel, and super odd.
Can our dynamic duo get their bromance back on track before W.H.Y.P. H.Y goes viral?
Around the 70-minute mark the movie basically says “Let’s stop doing what we did last time!” and consequently roars back to life. I won’t spoil it but sufficed to say that action ensues and produces some of the biggest laughs in the feature.
The movie ends with a mock montage of future Jump Street movies to come so make sure you wait it out.
22 Jump Street mocks formulaic sequels only to become one. Most of its best jokes come from characters openly acknowledging the repetitive nature of the film’s plot and character beats.
But the bad news is that, in exchange for a number of clever jokes admitting the “go through the motions” nature of the film, you have to sit through a movie that is indeed a rather repetitive comedy sequel that recycles much of what worked the first time around.
So what’s the verdict? Same plot. Better jokes.
By Ruth Walker