Movie Review: “22 Jump Street”

ImageImageYou’re pretty much going to have to see “22 Jump Street” twice — just to catch all the jokes the roars of laughter make you miss.
No kidding, when this buddy cop parody hits its sweet spots — bromance gags carried to hilarious extremes by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, too-dumb-to-be-a-cop riffs by Tatum and a couple of vintage, sneering rants by Ice Cube — “22,” the sequel to “21,” only “exactly the same” as the first film (a running gag) becomes a “see it again on Netflix when I can hear it all” experience.
This comedy produces the biggest, loudest laughs of any movie this summer.
Undercover cops Jenko and Schmidt are sent off to M.C. State University to track down a new designer drug that college kids are using to help them focus. It’s called “WhyPhy.”
“I’m the first person in my family to pretend to go to college!”
They try to blend in by doing slam poetry, by pledging a frat, attending classes that are out of their dimwitted depth, hitting parties and asking around about the drug and this coed who died because of something she knew about it.
But they’re not fooling anybody.
“He’s like a 30 year old eighth grader!”
“Tell us about the war…ANY of them.”
The filmmakers and the cast mock the idea of a sequel and get away with doing exactly what they’re mocking, even if “It’s always worse the second time around.”
Ice Cube, making the most of just few scenes, lands more laughs with a scowl or three than he has in his last five pictures
And Tatum and Hill take their characters’ relationship to the next level of bromance, toying with the idea of “an open…investigation,” learning from their human sexuality class how inappropriate each can be.
“Did you know I used homophobic slurs in high school?”
“Yes, aimed at me.”
Pretty funny line, coming from Jonah Hill, who just had to apologize for calling a paparazzo a homophobic slur. There are other coincidences — Maya Angelou and Tracy Morgan jokes — that give the comedy an eerie currency.
Hill scores with an epic girlfight and a blast of slam poetry. Tatum is comically convincing as a walk-on superstar tight end for the football team, and a parkour-loving jock who climbs walls, and finds a new BFF in an Owen Wilson-look-alike quarterback (Wyatt Russell).
A pack of credited writers, and the co-directors of the first film, those “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” guys Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, conjure up good, quick footed and foul-mouthed fun. It goes on way too long, peaks too early and sputters before rallying with a frothy finale and a closing credits gag that kills, but also goes on too long.
That doesn’t much matter. Hill and Tatum are the unlikeliest of big screen odd couples, a happy-goofy one that seems headed for a long and fruitful relationship — homoerotic or not. And you’re still going to need to see this one twice to get all the sight gags, punchlines and pratfalls that this “exactly the same” sequel serves up.
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, The Lucas Brothers, Peter Stormare
Credits: Directed Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, scripted by Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and
Rodney Rothman, based on the Fox TV show. A Sony/Columbia-MGM release.
Running time: 1:52

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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2 Responses to Movie Review: “22 Jump Street”

  1. Justin pope says:

    I’m a huge cinaphile and have been reading your reviews for years. Of the thousands of movie reviewers out there you appear to be the only one who doesn’t inject your personal taste into a review. You always give a fair, honest and non-bias review of a film. Most reviewers just want people to see how witty they are or just follow what everyone else is saying. I just wanted to say thank you and I always see what you recommend

    • Not to insult a gift horse, but if you think I’m not “injecting” my “personal taste” in a review, you don’t understand the whole reviewing thing. That is precisely what a review is — personal taste. The trick is to keep an open enough mind that your personal taste is broad and can be broadened further by a good film, no matter what lousy ham is its star or what woebegone genre the film sits in.

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