There's something about the Jump Street movies. Is it the need for a summer cop comedy? Is it the "shouldn't work but totally does" chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum? Or is it because it worked so well the first time that they quite seriously just self-consciously replicated everything and shifted it to college? Yup, that's it.
Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are back for another bullets flying comedy in 22 Jump Street. They moved to a larger location across the street, because the big wigs had confidence that they could make even more money by investing more. You see me winking? You're following? The knowledge that this was a big budget sequel was so blatant that I half expected for someone in 22 to turn to the camera and speak to me.
There's almost no reason to go that in depth with the plot since it's exactly the same as the first. Schmidt and Jenko must go undercover as college students to sniff out the supplier of a drug ring. Find the dealer leads to finding the supplier. Instead of Schmidt becoming the unexpected popular guy, it's Jenko who connects with the surfer-ish frat boy, Zook (Wyatt Russell), and has the college experience he never had. Schmidt befriends a gorgeous art major, Maya (Amber Stevens), who lives across the hall from a girl who died of a new drug called WHYPHY. The more beer cans Jenko smashes on his head, the further he and Schmidt drift apart.
The broken "relationship" segment of the movie is actually really funny. They attend a therapy session that resembles couples counseling, and, surely, the females in the audience would kill for a chance to work it out with Tatum. Hill is open and needy, and Tatum is gruff and angry in the scene, and it oddly works even though we've seen this playful kind of scene before (Friends used to do this all the time).
The relationship between Jenko and Zook was a bit too brotastic for me. I actually thought that Zook was going to be in love with Jenko by the end of the movie, but maybe that's because I don't spend that much time around beer-pounding, football hurling frat boys. Do all college straight guys spend their time pumping iron and shaming pledged? I'm just not familiar. Schmidt does get a girlfriend out of this whole separation, and Maya's roommate, Mercedes (Jillian Bell), is a scene stealer. Every time she saw Schmidt, she fires off rapid fire insults about his obvious age in a dry, bitchy tone. Love her. Want to be friends with her.
Is 22 Jump Street overly familiar? Yes. Does it matter in this instance? Not one bit. Any time an anticipated sequel comes out, some lame brain asks, "is it as good as the first one?" Comparing a movie with its sequel is trite, but if they are a good time carbon copy, does it really matter? Can 22 Jump Street just be called a continuation rather than a sequel? Hill's belly-full-of-jelly eagerness and Tatum's beef jerky thick neck win me over every time, and it features the best hang from a helicopter finale since True Lies.
The credits feature possibly entries into the Jump Street canon, and I feel like I would sit back and watch every single one of them.