[ Directors: Chris Lord, Phil Miller; Screenwriters: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman; Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Peter Storemare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, The Lucas Brothers, Nick Offerman; Running time: 112 minutes; Certification: 15 ]
Like every film from mad scientist directors Chris Lord and Phil Miller, the helmers of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street (there’s a pattern there), the greatest pleasure of 22 Jump Street is the way it embraces and basks in its own absurdity. 21 Jump Street surprised a lot of people with its success. What looked potentially formulaic, crass and dumb turned out to be what was probably the funniest comedy of the year because of Lord and Miller’s ability to blend every element to devastating effect. The slapstick, off-beat, buddy cop gags landed every time, the chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum yielded hilarious results, and it featured one of the best ‘tripping’ sequences ever put on film (“fuck science!”) – a feat 22 Jump Street challenges but doesn’t quite conquer.
That successful formula quickly went to the studio execs’ heads and a sequel was swiftly ordered. Now, as the Muppets told us earlier this year, the sequel is never quite as good, but 22 Jump Street similarly makes sure it wastes no time in referencing the fact that it’s pretty much the same film again and was only made because of and for money – but that doesn’t mean it can’t make you laugh just as much. Full of meta, self-referential jokes, like one of the opening gags – a joke about how their new Jump Street HQ is bigger and more expensive because of how successful they were last time, and they’ll likely have to move back over to an ever bigger HQ on 23 Jump Street when this one sells – and the excellent end credits sequence, the film is elevated from just funny to, perhaps not game-changing, but at least game-winning.
Hill and Tatum return exactly where they left off; effortlessly and hilariously exchanging quips and one-liners whilst forever ‘bro-ing out’. On paper it’s not a relationship that looks like it should work so well, but the comedic timing and juxtaposing qualities of the two of them combine to make one incessant, rambunctious laugh machine. Judging purely on the number of chuckles, 22 Jump Street is another roaring success. Sure it’s pretty much just the same film again, but it knows that and references it hilariously. And of course, while a film bringing light to its own flaws isn’t necessarily a get out of jail free card, it can work and in this case it very much does. A tonic for sequel fever.