Despite 21 Jump Street being a surprise hit at the box office and even critically upon its release, a sequel cheesily called 22 Jump Street came as a complete surprise to most and the very idea sounded like a joke.
And a joke it both was and wasn't.
The charm of the original rested on two things: the likeable two leads and the tongue-in-cheek self-knowing humour which actually worked to make the film at least amusing. This sequel is fully aware of how pointless and absurd its existence is and it tries to have fun with it, which turns out to be a good move. Taking any of this seriously would have been a mistake to say the least.
And so here we have 22 Jump Street, the bigger, goofier, slightly inferior sequel which prides itself on giving us more of the same, with a few add-ons. The result is a fun, silly little film which makes up for how random and unnecessary it is with more Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill buddy lols and some fun new (and old) jokes. This time, the undercover cop duo are sent into college to investigate the death of a student which could be linked to the rise of a new powerful drug. Nothing too exciting or new but the film does well to bring in a couple of twists and turns, just enough to not be completely predictable. Hill and Tatum are, once again, having a ball throughout and hold the flick together perfectly well. Good old Ice Cube gets a slightly bigger part and offers fine support although a subplot involving Hill's character and his daughter is left unresolved, which is rather disappointing since it felt like it was building up to something more than Hill getting tased in the balls.
That's really the main problem with this movie: it's a bit all over the place and you do get the impression that everyone's in it just to have fun, not to tell a coherent story. Which is fine but which also makes it slightly less involving than its predecessor. Do look out for a few fun cameos and the ever reliable Peter Stormare in yet another villainous role as well as a Jillian Bell on top form. Stand out scenes include an intense chase involving a big football helmet on wheels, a pretty hilarious drug trip and a thrilling spring break climax. Oh, and a surprisingly accurate Jonah Hill impression.
All in all, while 22 Jump Street doesn't offer much more than endless bromance jokes and general wackiness, it does so with gusto and delivers enough laughs to make it a forgettable yet likeable comedy worth bringing a couple of friends to on a Friday night.
Harmless messy fun.