Much like The Hangover and its not so great sequel, The Hangover Part 2, 21 Jump Street decided that it was going to stick to the same formula for its sequel, but instead of high school, they were going to go to college. Like The Hangover, they took most of the major plot points and humor and changed the location. This did not work for The Hangover, but it certainly worked for 22 Jump Street. Why, you ask? Because the movie acknowledges it multiple times throughout, sometimes giving us a big (purposefully funny) middle finger saying, “We know this is the same movie, so let’s have some fun with it,” and it totally works, making this one of the funniest movies of the year.
It is clear that the writers probably intend this to be the final film in this little series. With so many cheeky references to, “the same plot” and “Just solve the case like last time,” it is pretty indicative that either they are ending the series, or taking it somewhere entirely different in 23 Jump Street (it is referenced comically in this movie). It is also clear that the writers wanted to infuse as many film references into this movie as possible. From Annie Hall, to Channing Tatum saying they should be Secret Agents for the White House (an obvious reference to his White House Down role), the references are all funny. The movie tries to balance old jokes with new, which results in some very funny memories and sometimes blatant repetition.
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are a comedic dream-team. The chemistry they share and their great comedic timing gives us constant belly-aching laughter. I do not want to mention any of the other jokes that aren’t in the trailer because they need to be seen first and not told secondhand. They are supported by a bigger role from Ice Cube, a plethora of cameos (which work only part of the time), and a new cast of people who are pretty darned good. Wyatt Russell, who really has not done anything other than a couple episodes of The Walking Dead plays Zook, Tatum’s new best friend in the film. Their scenes are great together. Also joining is Amber Stevens, the girl who Hill falls for after just one night together, and Jillian Bell, most notable from her role on Workaholics, plays the rude and bitter Mercedes.
As I have said before, the plot is essentially the same. There are times when it drags on just a tad too long, and the jokes have appeared to be all used up. It comes to an entirely all too quick end though, which does come off as a bit rushed compared to the rest of the movie. Yet in the end it still makes you laugh. I think that it will be pretty polarizing, whether you love it even though it’s the same or hate it because of that same reason.
In the end, 22 Jump Street stands tall with its predecessor. It is imbued with enough new jokes and references to the first one and knows exactly what it is trying to be without trying to pass it off as a whole new movie with the same plot while still acting like it’s completely original. If you loved 21 Jump Street you will surely not be disappointed, and even if you haven’t seen the first one, it is essentially the same and you get a “Previously on” at the beginning of the film. 22 Jump Street is hilariously gut-busting, go check it out if you’re in need of a chuckle.
P.S. Stay for the credits.