22 Jump Street (2014) — It wants you to know it’s a sequel

“The Koreans bought the church back, so we had to move across the street… to 22 Jump Street.”

Justin’s rating: Like Batman and Robin, but two Batmen

Justin’s review: You know what’s kind of fun? When you can grab sequels and watch them right after you see the first one — without those years of waiting that the rest of movie audiences. That means I was able to see 21 and 22 Jump Street back-to-back for some immediate compare-and-contrast enjoyment.

The immature bromance of Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) is back, except instead of infiltrating a high school, now they’re inappropriately aged to infiltrate a college. But really it’s about the two finding themselves in goofy situations, quipping like mad, and scrambling to obtain a win any way possible.

While the first film had a sly meta commentary on the nature of franchise reboots, 22 Jump Street grabs on to the theme of sequels bombing and doesn’t let go. This film knows that if it’s too similar, it’s damned, and if it’s too dissimilar, it’s damned — so it takes a third route and pokes fun at sequel tropes in the hopes that this actual sequel comes out on top.

And it does, even if the climb up there is messy and rushed.

Because the plot and even many of the jokes are carbon copies of the first movie adjusted for the college scene, the movie has a lot of opportunity to jerk audience expectations around and riff on same-but-not-quite-the-same moments.

But knowing myself, my favorite parts are always when the movie cuts loose from the moors of reality and gets truly weird. Maybe it’s a brief labeled sequence when the duo decorate their dorm room, yet another loopy drug trip, a sarcastic roommate from hell, the amazingly funny jokes about the movie’s budget, or the heavy-handed romance movie parody.

I should also give a mention to both of these movies’ devotion to an expressive soundtrack that often contributes a lot to the comedy of any given situation (or, at the least, adds some more energy to certain parts that sorely need a boost).

I’ve seen it mentioned more than once that these movies show that Tatum has a real knack for comedy that he should pursue — and I agree. I’m not that big of a Jonah Hill fan (I feel like he’s got a single “stammering nerd” schtick that got old the first time I saw it), but I’ll write a letter of recommendation for Tatum if he asks for it. He just might. I don’t know how hard up he is.

Hollywood really doesn’t make a lot of big budget comedies these days — nevermind comedy sequels — and the fact that people are still lauding this nine-year-old movie as a “recent” high point illustrates the desert of jocularity in which we live. So I’ll take this movie for all the laughs I can get, even if it isn’t as fresh this time around.

Didja notice?

  • “Previously on 21 Jump Street…”
  • He needs absolute silence
  • Just in case you didn’t think that Dora, Boots, and Swiper wouldn’t be in this movie
  • The killer octopus: “It’s inking in my mouuuuuth!”
  • “We shared so much in that car!”
  • “Don’t Teen Wolf on the truck!”
  • Boy can Nick Offerman deliver the line “they have EIGHT tentacles”
  • “We’ve doubled their money, as if spending twice the money would guarantee twice the profit.”
  • Oh the White House Down shade
  • 23 Jump Street sign
  • The office being a “giant cube of ice”
  • The nerds are back as police interns!
  • “It’s so refreshing to have a case with a black victim.”
  • “I’m the first person in my family to pretend to go to college.”
  • The labels for all of the dorm room items
  • Channing Tatum’s deadpan delivery of “three shower poofs”
  • The Yangs talking in unison
  • “I’m just exhausted from inventing Facebook.”
  • “Star War” on the chalkboard
  • All of these open mic night performances are so badly
  • “It’s like a meat-Q-tip”
  • “Things are different since you didn’t go to college.”
  • The Plain View Red Herrings
  • “I thought your hip popped out at one point.”
  • “You know what’s not lame? Safety.”
  • “He looks like a 30-year-old eighth grader”
  • Hey it’s H. Jon Benjamin!
  • Ice Cube’s glare. You’ll know it when you see it.
  • “I’m straight outta Compton!”
  • You always need more star wipes
  • The therapy session
  • The taser jump
  • Cate Blanchett with the budget
  • “Book place”
  • The helmet car
  • The Benny Hill gag
  • “You gave me kiss me eyes!”
  • The amazing end credits with all of the sequel ideas

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