[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00JWSVLJK][/pullquote] Ladies, nobody cared about the Jump Street reboot, but you got lucky so begins a expositional speech that lets the audience know, with a cheeky wink that they’re aware just how fortunate they are. The same speech references the ludicrous new title as well as the lead actors previous works. Such is the ‘meta’ nature of 22 Jump Street.
On paper 21 Jump Street should never have worked. A remake of an 80s TV show about police officers who goes undercover in a school despite being far too old, it appeared to be heading for the same fate as other comedies of this type like Starsky and Hutch and The Green Hornet. Add to that the casting of untested comic actor/heartthrob Channing Tatum alongside proven funnyman Jonah Hill and the odds were firmly stacked against the film being an good.
To a lot of people’s surprise however, the two leads shared an incredible onscreen chemistry and the film turned out to be a riotously funny affair. Sure it lagged in the final act, where the obligatory car chase scene killed it’s comedy momentum dead, but up till then it was a real gem and it’s success has lead, as these things do in modern Hollywood to a quickly-produced sequel, neatly titled 22 Jump Street. Clearly aware of that the odds are firmly stacked against them again, everyone knows that sequels are twice as expensive and half as good, but have Jenko and Schmidt succeeded in-spite of themselves again?
With their blend of knowing comedy and a standout comedic performance from Tatum, the answer is; sort of. When this overblown sequel is funny it’s a laugh-out-loud affair, when it’s not it becomes an almost unbearable drag. Directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord do manage to keep it on the right-side of the diminishing returns scale.
Tatum and Hill do remain faithfully on hand to provide the sort of chemistry that most buddy cop films like this wish for. The smart but insecure vs. the dim but loveable jock dynamic is visited once again, but this time with Tatum being the popular guy at college after he meets a frat boy who is basically his own carbon copy. There is a repeat of the cops-on-drugs scenes from the original, but despite a neat hallucination split-screen music video riff it pales in comparison to its predecessor.
Cleverly highlighting that all sequels to these sort of films are basically rehashes of the original, the duo cleverly subvert expectations and provide exactly that. Sadly the joke wears thin and once again an action-heavy, chase-type finally sucks the fun out of a spritely and quirky Hollywood comedy. Eventually this becomes the films undoing, because no amount of clever poking fun at the idea that sequels are more expensive but less rewarding stop this from being precisely that.