Chris Miller and Phil Lord made this sequel bigger and better in every aspect but not at the sake of its charm.
21 Jump Street caught people by surprise. With Channing Tatum’s casting at the time, it appeared to be just another dumb action Hollywood remake. But thanks to a very witty screenplay from Michael Bacall and the creativity of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the film was a completely original and genuinely hilarious spin on the popular ‘80s television series.
Furthermore, it looked at the high school comedy genre in a completely new light. Even though they weren’t taking it very seriously, they actually got it right.
22 Jump Street does incredibly well to surprise you once again.
We join the characters exactly where they left us. Fresh from cracking the biggest case of their lives, Schmidt and Jenko are sent to college to once again “infiltrate the dealers and find the supplier”.
These films wouldn’t work without the fun chemistry between the two leads, and the entire premise really revolves around how this new environment affects them as “partners”. Tatum has a lot playing the dumb jock and Hill takes the emotional dependency of his character to a new extreme.
Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman, who wrote the screenplay, have included so many in-jokes it’s hard to keep up. They’re clever because they’re subtle, so you don’t feel entirely stupid or miss any vital plot details if a couple go over your head. The humour and cultural references are very similar to Dan Harmon’s Community.
There are nods to Beverly Hills Cop, N.W.A, Spider-Man, Lethal Weapon, pretty much everything Judd Apatow has ever touched, Channing Tatum’s shitty film choices, Hollywood sequels in general and almost every teen comedy cliché made in the last 20 years. It’s so tongue-in-cheek the film seems to make fun of itself most of the time, reminiscent of Wayne’s World 2.
And this one might be a stretch, but is there also a reference to Tatum’s casting as Marvel character Gambit in the end credits? Playing cards, the colour purple… surely that wasn’t an accident.
Much like the very likeable supporting characters from the first film, such as Rob Riggle and Dave Franco (who both return), Brie Larson and Ellie Kemper, 22 Jump Street adds Peter Stormare, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell and fairly unknown siblings, The Lucas Brothers. Plus the added return of both Ice Cube and Nick Offerman. Unfortunately newcomer Wyatt Russell fails to keep up and Queen Latifah’s cameo seems really unnecessary.
To be honest, there’s not much I can say that’ll do this film justice. The jokes come hard and fast and at the centre of it all are two very likeable leads. It’s not just entertaining as a sequel; it’s one of the best films of the year.