22 JUMP STREET
Running Time: 112 mins.
Premise: Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are charged by their superior officer to do the exact same thing they did last time, so they infiltrate a college, posing as students to bring down an illegal drug operation.
Behind-the-Scenes: The whole gang is back together again. Phil Lord & Chris Miller, fresh off their spectacular success earlier this year with The Lego Movie, return as directors. With a projected box office this weekend of $63 million, that marks two $60 million + openings within four months for the duo. Give these guys another franchise already! Whatever they want to do next, I'm game.
The Good: 22 Jump Street takes meta to a whole other level. The entire movie is one big commentary on the nature of sequels. All of the jokes are planted with tongue firmly in cheek. And, they're hilarious. I'd say at least 80% of the jokes land, which is a great percentage. Much higher than the typical studio comedy. The joyous buddy chemistry between Hill and Tatum remains intact. Tatum is developing into a truly gifted comedian. The guy can do it all. Ice Cube is back as the duo's undercover liaison, and he's funny as hell. Lord & Miller know just when to end a scene or cut away from a joke for maximum impact. The great thing about their directing style is that it works in both animation and live action - they don't direct either any differently. You absolutely have to stay for the end credits sequence. It's probably my favorite thing I've seen on screen all year. In one fell swoop, they make a mockery of future sequels and all but kill any chance we'll see a 23 Jump Street.
The Bad: The plot is an intentional, nearly scene-by-scene redo of the first film, so although funny, the movie lacks a certain freshness. An extended subplot about Jenko's budding friendship with a fellow frat brother (played by Wyatt Russell - Kurt's son!) takes up too much screen time.
Should You See It?: Yes. This could very well end up being the best comedy of the year.
Star Rating: **** out of 5 stars.
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