22 Jump Street

22 Jump Street

  • 22 Jump Street isn’t exceptional, but it is very good.
  • Mostly because the bromantic duo of Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are somehow simultaneously stupid and smart, incompetent and effective, even likable and unlikable.
  • Hill and Tatum deserve much of the credit. They give their characters just enough humanity to make us care and more than enough zaniness to make the film’s goofball comedy work.
  • The supporting cast, highlighted by Wyatt Russell (Zook) and Jillian Bell (Mercedes), are equally funny.
  • By properly timing mildly dramatic moments with intense comedy, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (not to mention four credited writers) deserve accolades, as well.
  • Superlative meta-humor on the nature of sequels works strikingly well, too, even if it is a touch overused.
  • Narratively, the film has a handful of flaws. The nature of Maya (Amber Stevens) and Captain Dickson’s (Ice Cube) relationship is initially too obfuscated from the viewer. Mercedes’ motivations are underexplained. And so forth.
  • But such things barely matter. As a comedy not attempting to be anything else, 22 Jump Street doesn’t need to be narratively cohesive.
  • It needs to be funny.
  • And it is, consistently and frequently. Special mention to an end-credit sequence of hopefully never to-be-made sequels.
  • As they did with The Lego Movie, Lord and Miller construct a quality comedy, one that will entertain, likely through multiple viewings.
  • Final Grade: B+

26 thoughts on “22 Jump Street

  1. “Superlative meta-humor on the nature of sequels works strikingly well, too, even if it is a touch overused.” You hit the nail on the head there, dude. I couldn’t agree more. This element simultaneously had me howling like a hyena and rolling my eyes towards the end. That said, I was mightily impressed this film managed to succeed as much as its predecessor. I might even make the argument that my enjoyment level was greater here than in 2012.

  2. Nice review per usual James. The only thing I find myself in the minority with is Jillian Bell’s character. Her same joke became grating to me really fast. Otherwise, as you basically alluded to, this is one of the better comedies of 2014 so far.

    • I don’t know that we know her character well enough for me to have any real opinion about it. But I did like Bell’s performance, probably a touch more than you.

      As I recall, you said it was the best comedy of 2014, in your review, right? I would still say Lego Movie was better, but this is pretty close.

      • I did say that. For some reason, I see animated comedies in their own realm, and hard to compare them to live action, sometimes R rated comedies.

        The Lego Movie is great as well, and considering both received a B+ mark from yours truly, the difference is negligible, if none. Regardless, these directors are having an awesome 2014!

      • Ha, okay. That doesn’t necessarily surprise me – as you might’ve guessed, the film recycles a tonne of plot points from the first film (and is very very aware of this, naturally), which is cute but I think makes it a slightly less enjoyable film. I think people who haven’t seen the first one tend to enjoy the sequel more for that reason, from my limited anecdotal evidence!

      • Quite possible.

        Someday I’m going to watch the first. We’ll see if I like that one as much as I liked this one, now that I watched them out of sequence.

      • Yeah, I think there’s a reasonable chance you’re going to like whichever one you see first more. 21 Jump Street surprised me with how funny it was; it seemed like it was going to suck!

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