22 Jump Street (Sony Pictures Releasing/Columbia Pictures, R)

film 22-jump-st_sm22 Jump Street is bigger, louder, and dumber after moving one door down, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its charms.

 

 

 

film 22-jump-st

Officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are at it again. After bungling an undercover drug operation involving kingpin The Ghost (Peter Stormare), they get sent back to the Jump Street program to…go undercover in a drug operation. When Jenko asks Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) if they’re going for a third round at high school, he gamely replies, “You look like you ’bout 50,” and orders them to bust a deadly college drug ring.

Make no mistake: 22 Jump Street is bigger, louder, and dumber after moving one door down, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its charms. Everyone involved for this second go-round has their tongues so firmly planted in their cheeks that you can basically see them sticking out the other side.

See, the 21 Jump Street reboot was supposed to fail, as Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) explains before sending Schmidt and Jenko back in. But since they managed, against all odds, to pull a whopping success out of their collective ass, the program (cough…sequel) is now backed by even more money and optimism. Hence the new base (near the proposed site for 23 Jump Street condos, nudge, hint) filled with baby-faced officers and equipment Dickson calls “some shit James Bond would have,” while he sports $800 shoes “you can’t even see!”

So, the duo head to MC State to track down the drug-dealing ringleader, but as expected, they hit a few bumps in the road. Namely, once they’re thrown back into a scholastic environment, it becomes painfully obvious again that they are totally different people who normally wouldn’t travel in the same circles. Jenko fits in naturally with the football jock/frat boy crowd and loves regaining his former BMOC glory, while Schmidt falls in with sensitive hottie Maya (Amber Stevens) and her artsy group. Lucky for them, each clique offers chances to look into the drug trade from different angles.

If all this sounds eerily familiar, well, it’s also purposely, brazenly familiar. When the case comes to a satisfying-enough conclusion, Hardy announces at a press conference, “This case is exactly like one we just wrapped. Exactly. Like it.” A common action movie sequel “bug” was not merely turned into a feature, but was exuberantly bro-hugged into being.

And that’s just fine. 22 Jump Street is funny enough to almost make you pee a little of your bucket of theater soda. How can you not laugh when a Hummer destroys half the campus, chasing our heroes in a golf cart dressed up as a giant football helmet? Or when Jenko, realizing that Schmidt has stepped into the mother of all workplace bear traps, gleefully touchdown-dances all over Jump Street HQ. Orwhen Maya’s roommate Mercedes (Jillian Bell) verbally smacks down Schmidt’s age with deadpans—e.g., “You’re 19 minutes late for pinochle. Because you’re old.”

For all the high points during the movie, nothing made me happier than the end, where the filmmakers predict a future for the franchise—and then run it into the ground, well past the Earth’s crust. It turns out that there are way more types of schools in which one can go undercover than we might have previously imagined, and I’m glad we got a glimpse of that absurdity—if, that is, this is our last trip down Jump Street. | Adrienne Jones

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