The Movie Waffler New Release Review - <i>22 Jump Street</i> | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - 22 Jump Street

Sequel to the 2012 comic reboot.

Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Peter Stormare, Nick Offerman, Amber Stevens, Wyatt Russell, Richard Grieco

The undercover operation undertaken by police officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) is rebooted with a larger budget and a swanky new premises, located across the street at 22 Jump Street. This time, Schmidt and Jenko must pose as students at a local University in order to take down a drugs ring that has been peddling a lethal new narcotic known as 'WyPhy'. When Jenko becomes a member of the football team and befriends fellow player Zook (Russell), the partnership between himself and Schmidt becomes in danger of collapsing.
2012's reboot of the preposterous eighties cop drama 21 Jump Street was a surprisingly smart and witty employment of the knowing formula used for big screen adaptations of The Brady Bunch and Starsky & Hutch. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller followed the surprise hit with the equally enjoyable The Lego Movie, another film that worked despite the odds being stacked against it. It's easy to argue that both movies had been greenlit for entirely cynical reasons - cashing in on a known property and selling children's toys - but the execution of both was anything but.
Both movies relied heavily on a self awareness of the reasons behind their existence, but Lord and Miller made this work in their favour. With 22 Jump Street, however, the well of self-referential gags has run dry. "Maybe we weren't meant to do this again," Hill remarks at one point, but rather than laugh along at such a knowing line, we can only agree wholeheartedly with the statement. With so much of Lord and Miller's time taken up by The Lego Movie, it's amazing that this sequel was turned around so quickly, but watch both movies and it's all too clear which they were more focused on.
The first installment cleverly exposed the undercurrent of homoerotica in Hollywood action movies but the sequel takes this joke and expands it to the point where not only is it no longer amusing but you begin to wonder if it was ever all that funny to begin with. There's a thin line between laughing at homophobes and laughing with them, and 22 Jump Street teeters dangerously on a tightrope above that line.

Eric Hillis