22 Jump Street

Year: 2014
Studio: Sony
Director: Phil Lord/Christopher Miller
Writer: Michael Bacall/Oren Uziel/Rodney Rothman/Jonah Hill
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Nick Offerman

22 Jump Street gets what it sets out to do perfectly right, both within the film itself and as a meta-statement about the existence of the film and the position of films like it in the panolpy of modern cinema.

First of all, coming from Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the talent behind Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, the gags in the movie are very, very funny. Just one of the many that come almost too fast to appreciate is when Schmidt (Jonah Hill) tells handsome-but-dumb Jenko (Channing Tatum) he has to fly like a seed and find soil to grow in, and Jenko replies with 'I know, and I tried to soil myself, but...'

Then there's the film commenting quite hilariously on its own existence. The whole discussion with their captain about how they've got to do the exact same thing they did the first time, but that it won't be as good, is one of many wry nods to the audience that Lord and Miller know exactly what they're doing. It's interesting because the conventional wisdom you always hear is that comedy which winks at the audience doesn't work, but it's perfectly placed here.

There are lots more uses of subtle, almost Escher-esque self-reference, like when Jenko sees Dickson's office in the new Jump Street digs (it's 22 Jump Street because the Koreans bought their church across the street back) and says 'it's like a huge cube of ice' when Dickson's once again played by the terminally angry Ice Cube.

This time the guys are sent to college rather than high school to do the exact same thing (find a drug dealer), and there's a whole subplot about how they're growing apart that's mined for comic possibilities along with everything else.

Not every joke works, and the action sequences sometimes overshadow everything else, but the film lays out what it's going from early on, so it's in on the joke already. There are plenty of laughs, and that's exactly 22 Jump Street exists for.

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