22 JUMP STREET
**1/2 (out of 5)
June 13, 2014
Jonah Hill as SCHMIDT
Channing Tatum as JENKO
Peter Stormare as THE GHOST
Wyatt Russell as ZOOK
Amber Stevens as MAYA
Jillian Bell as MERCEDES
Ice Cube as CAPTAIN DICKSON
Nick Offerman as DEPUTY CHIEF HARDY
Studio: Sony Pictures
Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
When it comes to some movies, it’s all about expectations. It’s not just when the studio expects a movie to perform a certain way, and they are pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised when it doesn’t. It’s also about what the audience is expecting.
Back in 2012 when the first “21 Jump Street” film was released, I thought it was going to be terrible. I was already suffering from Channing Tatum fatigue from his unprecedented success in terrible movies like “The Vow” and “Dear John.” Plus, I had swerved into the original television show on the Fox network when I was younger. It wasn’t a great show, but it was essential 80s and 90s programming for a start-up national network.
However, when I finally saw “21 Jump Street,” I found that I really enjoyed it. Sure, it would have still been a fun movie had I not expected it to be terrible. However, the fact I was not expecting much made what I got that much more fun.
With the impending release of “22 Jump Street,” I couldn’t help but have high expectations. Not only were all the key players back for the second round, but the initial trailers played with convention enough to make it look like it could be a fun movie.
Unfortunately, going into “22 Jump Street” with too high of expectations will result in you possibly getting disappointed, as I was.
Tatum and Jonah Hill return in this film as somewhat youthful detectives who have been tapped to infiltrate a college and uncover a drug ring. Sound familiar? It’s pretty much the same story as the first film, only in a college instead of a high school. (This is probably because Tatum and Hill were pushing it as being able to pass as high school students a couple years ago, and now they’re barely passing as college students. This much is acknowledged by the filmmakers with plenty of jokes about how they’re too old, and look it.)
Don’t get me wrong… there are still some extremely funny moments in “22 Jump Street.” Most of these moments come from when the film acknowledges its own flaws. We see that in the trailer, with a wink and nod to the audience while their Deputy Chief (Nick Offerman) tells them no one expected this to succeed, and now they’re pumping money into the program to make sure Jump Street continues.
However, this winking and nodding only goes so far. I appreciate what the writers have done in admitting they’re shoehorning the same story in for the sequel, but that doesn’t excuse the lazy writing that comes out of it at times. It reminds me of “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” in which Michael York as Basil Exposition breaks the fourth wall and literally tells the audience to accept the thin premise and not question it.
Yes, I knew this movie would suffer from sequelitis, but too much acknowledgement of that fact reveals that the movie isn’t as strong as it could be.
But I can’t say I didn’t laugh. Both Hill and Tatum still have good chemistry together, and Tatum continues to impress me as a comedic actor. There are also some quite brilliant cinematic elements tossed around, including shooting the opening of the film like “Bad Boys II” before falling back into the more standard process that looks less like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.
However, in the end, I was let down by “22 Jump Street,” and it once again proves that sequels are often inferior to their predecessor for a number of reasons.