After conquering the box office earlier this year with “The Lego Movie,” directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are back with the sequel to their 2012 hit, “21 Jump Street.”
This time around, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) head to college to crack down on the suppliers of a new drug called “whyphy” and, at the same time, extend their bromance to the college level. If the first film lampooned buddy cop films and high school stereotypes, “22 Jump Street” sets out to expose every cliché of college and Hollywood’s obsession with sequels.
As the pair infiltrate the university through the football team, slam poetry and an assortment of classes, they learn about finding identity, relationships and maybe not treating every investigation like the previous one. Just like the previous outing, “22 Jump Street” attracts audiences with a lot of the silly, gross-out humor that’s prevalent today, but finds a way to dig deeper and break the mold for these types of films.
The biggest gem from the first film was learning just how funny Channing Tatum can be. No longer the talentless hunk that many considered him to be early on, here he is fantastic again. As for Jonah Hill, I have never been a fan, but the fact that I didn’t find him annoying in the film should be seen as an endorsement.
The film also features cameos with a lot of funny actors like Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Nick Offerman and Ice Cube, who has a small subplot that plays for a lot of laughs. The most surprising laughs came from Jillian Bell, best known from Comedy Central’s “Workaholics,” who plays the roommate of Jonah Hill’s love interest (Amber Stevens). Of course if I’m being honest, most of her lines are making fun of Jonah Hill so I may be a little biased.
As much as the film does try to break new ground on college stereotypes and buddy cop films, certain parts of it do feel a little stale just from the familiarity of it all. This is a minor complaint, though, as the script tries to keep things fresh for the audience. The only other negative thing I can say is that a little more restraint on the jokes might have made for a better flow for the film. There are far more jokes than you will be able to catch in one viewing and the repetition of certain jokes or ideas can numb their effectiveness.
With a great ensemble cast and a clever script, “22 Jump Street” actually surpasses the original with more laughs and crazier scenarios. Though the frat boy humor of sex and partying wears a little thin, the film offers so much more than your typical college comedy. Be sure to watch the closing credit sequence for a few extra laughs.