22 Jump Street is rather reminiscent of its prequel. This is because they intentionally made the same film again. The kicker here though is that the film constantly acknowledges the fact that this sequel is the same story again but made with more money. 22 Jump Street analyses the film industry’s lack of successful sequel making and this begins as a very amusing concept. It comments on its own production; more money, bigger explosions, same story. With the opening salvo of action, guns and puns, 22 Jump Street brings a Bad-Boys vibe which is an amusing spectacle mainly because of Hill and Tatum’s undeniable charisma.
Hill and Tatum are super likable and work well on screen together, especially in segments where they are taken out of the direct storyline. However, this charisma is funnelled into an on-screen bromance forced into acting as if a sexual relationship. The joke that these best friends are in love further than friends does not fly as high as Lord and Miller may have hoped. Generic relationship bickering placed onto these (work) partners gets laughs, but they aren’t totally consistent.
This feels like the film’s main problem. The laughs are too spaced out for this decent summer flick to be anything more than simply that. At times the film feels like it hasn’t tried that hard to be originally funny. Several scenes got sustained reaction (such as the excellent comments on university existence), but other aspects, such as the drug’s poorly attempted comedy name, are a let-down. The bare minimum amount of characters are implemented, just enough to make the film work, and the jokes aren’t varied. Though the ‘same again’ aspect of the film is commented on and ingrained in the film’s formula, in the second hour of the film the charm of acknowledgement had died off. Nick Offerman’s Deputy Chief Hardy drew big laughs on his first comment on the ‘same storyline’ joke, but past the hour mark, dragging out the same pun got almost no crowd reaction. Hill has a comedy presence and got laughs wherever he went, whilst Tatum’s comedic value had dropped slowly after the ‘My name’s Jeff’ pun at the film’s outset. Ice Cube does all that he could for this matter, performing well with his matter of fact rhetoric, snarls and his comic presence, reaping some of the biggest laughs in the whole spectacle.
At the end of the film though, you’ve got exactly what you should have expected. This was a cleverly formulated sequel to a surprise-hit comedy, but it was still a sequel. The film moves in the same manners as its predecessor but not even its acknowledgment of the sequel’s curse can save it from suffering from it. The film will make you laugh; just don’t be expecting anything more. (Word to the wise, stay for the credits.)
22 Jump Street is a funny, charming comedy which struggles from the sequel’s curse that it recognises. ★ ★ ★
You’ve probably already seen this trailer but at least it doesn’t show all the film’s best jokes)