For those who don’t know, 22 Jump Street is the sequel to 2012’s 21 Jump Street, a gut-bustingly funny film about two undercover cops named Schmidt and Jenko, played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, respectively, acting as high school students in an attempt to blow the lid off of a drug ring operating within the high school. 22 Jump Street finds the two playing the part of college students trying to uncover the source of a new drug called “whyphy” being distributed throughout a nearby college.
If you feel that the plot sounds about as original as “Saved by the Bell: The College Years”, rest assured: the movie is incredibly self-aware. About a quarter of the jokes in the film poke fun at both the similarities between this film and its predecessor, as well as mocking the success (or lack thereof) of sequels in general. The characters do all but break the fourth wall with these jokes about how Hill and Tatum’s characters are basically in the same roles as they were the last time around, and the gag never gets stale. Had the movie tried to simply use this plot without this great sense of self-awareness, it would have been a very boring summer flick, but the inclusion of these jokes brought the script to a whole new level.
The rest of the film is hilarious, as well, parodying both action films and buddy cop movies alike. The cast is just about perfect for this film, and both Hill and Tatum are just as hilarious as they were the first time around. Several actors appear in cameos that also felt very welcome, including Patton Oswalt and Bill Hader. One actor in the film who surprised me simply by his presence in a major release was Jimmy Tatro, known on the internet for his youtube channel, Life According to Jimmy. Tatro, as well as the rest of the supporting cast, contributed greatly to the film, and I can honestly say that there was not a single minute that I was not laughing during the course of the movie.
Despite the movie’s strong sense of self-awareness, it’s hard not to admit that it does feel very familiar. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that some of the jokes used, such as the ones comparing the friendship between Schmidt and Jenko to a romantic relationship, started to feel a bit overused toward the end of the film. Still, this movie was absolutely fantastic, possibly even better than its predecessor, and is a great film for any fan of modern comedy.