I had serious doubts about this film from the second I sat down to watch it. From the outset it’s clear that this film is going to follow the same line that the first film did with very little variation, but stick with it because directors Lord and Miller will show you how good sequels can be.
Following their ‘success’ in the 21 Jump Street program, Schmidt and Jenko are back with a new assignment – they’re going to college. Their job is to find the supplier of a new drug, WHYPHY (pronounced ‘wifi’), which is spreading quickly across campus and has caused the death of a student already. The plot line is pretty much exactly the same as its precursor, 21 Jump Street, except the explosions are bigger and the jokes are funnier.
Neither Jenko nor Schmidt have matured in the slightest since their first assignment, which allows Channing Tatum and Noah Hill to be as silly as they like. Tatum shows off his character’s fearless and foolish attitude, scaling walls, jumping off buildings, getting shot (yes, again), whilst Hill reminds us what it’s like to be desperately unfit and uncoordinated. All things considered, Schmidt and Jenko shouldn’t really be friends and yet they have what is possibly the most beautiful bromance that Hollywood has ever offered us. This pair works so well together with their characters’ personalities each bringing something different to the table, but it’s when the two are combined that the real magic happens. The slight twist in this film is that Jenko and Schmidt’s relationship starts to wane under the pressure of the social hierarchy at college, which just makes it all the more obvious that this pair should never be apart.
It’s not just Tatum and Hill providing comedy gold, but the impressive supporting cast as well. We see much more of Ice Cube than in the previous film and there’s one particularly memorable scene involving green beans and a very, very angry Ice Cube. I can’t say more without revealing this film’s best moment so you’ll have to see it yourself to find out more. If that doesn’t tempt you then Jillian Bell’s rendition of a vicious Barbie doll sure as hell should.
There are numerous ‘in-jokes’ throughout the film which gives the impression that script writer Michael Bachall is having his fun with us. These references are subtly blended into this film in such a way that you’re not sure whether it really is Bachall talking directly to us, but it is. This film doesn’t take itself very seriously, but it sticks to know what it’s best at and repeats. The jokes are not forced in the slightest and this film simply oozes effortless comedy value. The jokes are somewhat repetitive, but miraculously, this doesn’t grate on you, they just get funnier every time. There were a few occasions where I couldn’t help but massively cringe at the script but these moments were rare and infrequent.
For those of you who are fans of the first film but are afraid of 22 Jump Street ruining your fond memories of Schmidt and Jenko, give this film a shot – you wont regret it. Remodelling the exact same story is difficult, but rest assured that Lord and Miller have outdone themselves once again – this isn’t anything like the disappointment that was The Hangover Part II (and Part III for that matter).
Make sure you stay until the very end of the film where there’s a series of mock scenarios for future films, up until around 41 Jump Street – the perfect end to this smashing action-comedy.