Review: 22 Jump Street


Director:Phil Lord,3 Chris Miller

Cast:Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens

Running Time:112.00


"Just do the same shit you did last time," Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) tells partners Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum). "That's all anybody wants to see." 


Part of the genius of 22 Jump Street is that directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller know this is a sequel and rehash the plot of 21 Jump Street with a wink while still subverting expectations at every turn.

Recruited back to undercover work, Schmidt and Jenko return as brothers who try to infiltrate a drug smuggling ring at Metro City State. Part of the joy of their first pairing was seeing them try fit into roles that didn't suit them "” Schmidt being suave and Jenko as the nerd. Part of what makes this outing superior is that it better reflects college, where identities are forged, sometimes at the expense of old friends.

Schmidt finds himself caught up with the art students, and particularly attracted to Maya (Amber Stevens). Jenko turns to the football and fraternity life, and there's a great running gag "” that unfortunately the film is too shy to follow through on "” that the quarterback (Wyatt Russell) likes him more than just a teammate and Jenko maybe, possibly, reciprocates.

22 Jump Street is the most self-aware comedy since Tropic Thunder, and it is relentless in its jokes. Luckily, its shooting percentage is like the Spurs in Game 3 of the NBA Finals "” off the charts. And it's not always the easy jokes about bodily functions and stereotypes.

There are repeated jokes about how unnecessarily expensive this outing is. "I'm wearing $800 shoes, and you can't even see them behind this desk," Dickson says at his ridiculously posh command center. Later, a car chase goes right through a sculpture garden. And there's a final climactic chase that involves both a Lamborghini and a helicopter.

Once again, Lord & Miller (who also directed The LEGO Movie) have done stupidity brilliantly. Their visual style perfectly matches the go-for-broke comedy of the script, co-written by Hill. There hasn't been a funnier movie all year, and I'm not sure there will be.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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