22 Jump Street (Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, 2014)

For all intents and purposes, 2012’s 21 Jump Street yielded more than satisfactory comic relief thanks to an all-encompassing, exceedingly R-rated gusto, of which helped the film transcend typical genre trappings. Keen on maintaining a thoroughly “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra, 22 Jump Street is an effective conceptual retread for the now college-bound Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), what with an early act fuck-up forcing them into a scenario identical to their previous exploits. Despite well-intentioned jabs at thwarting yet another hallucinogenic drug ring, the non-dynamic duo typically stumbles from Point A to B amid many a forehead-slapping personal and professional misstep.

Ringing delightfully self-referential to a (mostly) high degree of success, Lord & Miller’s steadfast sequel to their agreeably surprising hit goes where very few have dared. As commentary regarding the obviousness of its mimicry doesn’t go unnoticed, the film takes pride in committing to the uncreative creative choices it makes. In taking direct inspiration from itself technically, 22 Jump Street‘s recycled components find consistent solace in chemistry between leads and timely comedic prowess.

Despite the overbearing sub-thematic bromance, the film’s sense of humor does the trick, delivering when and where it’s expected to. Like all overachieving R-rated endeavors in this day and age though (i.e. Neighbors, This Is the End), 22 Jump Street‘s reach exceeds its grasp in some respects but remains mostly entertaining for entertainment’s sake. While some running gags outstay their welcome, the palpable well-made aura sported by a bulk of the proceedings outweighs the gripes of the uninitiated.

Barring its intelligently self-aware tendencies, 22 Jump Street plays out exactly as you’d expect a purposefully-structured sequel of its type should and would. Opting to take the high road in terms of subsequent execution however, the film still employs the skillful talent at its helm to craft a silly and highly likable effort worth viewing. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but then again, it decidedly doesn’t have to. Instead, it takes what works and runs with it to a laudably successful degree as sharp chemistry and execution do wonders for it all.


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