People’s expectations from 21 Jump Street to its sequel, 22 Jump Street have shifted dramatically. Mine included. Sequels are difficult, particularly for comedies. Often times they’re a repeat of the original, albeit bigger and louder. That is exactly the case here, only, 22 Jump Street embraces it, using the opportunity to point this out. Embracing this meta-humor became one of the films strengths. Sadly, one of its only ones.
I can count on one hand the number of moments I genuinely enjoyed in the film. Fear not, I won’t ruin them for you here, unless they were seen in the trailers. The first was the meta-humor. Retelling the same story, with many of the same jokes is common practice for comedy sequels. Look at Home Alone 2, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged, The Hangover II, etc. for examples. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie) embraces this, using many opportunities in the opening act to smartly point this out. If you’ve seen a single trailer though, all of these jokes have likely been spoiled for you.
Sadly, it wasn’t until the third act when I started enjoying myself again. The meta-jokes ended quickly. After, it was mostly boring. Sure, there was a laugh to be had occasionally, but nothing memorable. I found myself glancing at the time, hoping the movie would be over soon. Again, it wasn’t bad, just boring. Part of it might come from my state of mind. With the original, I expected absolutely nothing, seeing it on a lark. With this, I had high hopes, though I should have known better.
The final act had a few laughs, and Ice Cube’s part in the movie provided one of the best jokes that I won’t spoil here. But between that, and the ending credits, nothing stuck out. It seemed like they were trying too hard. Who knows if they’ll make a sequel, but considering the box office, its likely to happen. Either way, it’s something I won’t bother with.
I’ve often heard from critiques the most difficult to review items are ones that are middle of the road. That is exactly what 22 Jump Street is, average. There’s not much that could be said. A handful of jokes does not a comedy make. They had a sound idea, using meta-humor to point out the pitfalls of making a sequel, but quickly let the concept die. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum gave decent performances, but are only as good as the material, which wasn’t too great. Both characters came close to grating.
22 Jump Street will be forgotten in short order. Make a point to see the ending credits when the pop up on Youtube, but don’t waste your time beyond that. Even if you’re the worlds biggest Channing Tatum fan (I know her), your time is better spent elsewhere. This will easily burn away two hours, but will ultimately be a footnote.
What was your favorite sequence? Board as I was? Comment below!
Loved when they were high.