The Skinny (No Spoilers)
Sequel. Few words in entertainment hold as much possibility . . . and potential for failure. Without the burden of world building from scratch, the storytellers have the entire two-ish hours to tell their tale: The Godfather II; The Empire Strikes Back; Aliens; The Dark Knight; Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. However they can also try to accomplish too much in too short a time, flooding the zone with characters and plot line to a point where it is becomes one big mess: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; The Matrix Reloaded; Speed II. Hell, even Legally Blonde II feel far below its predecessor in quality. In the end, a lot of right and a helluva lotta wrong can occur in the second movie.
It is within this paradigm that we find “22 Jump Street”, the newest installment of the buddy cop genre featuring faux-Chippendales dancer Channing Tatum, and our favorite AARP-version of humpty dumpty, Jonah Hill.
It’s hilarious and better than the first one, plain and simple. The two main characters shine, the side characters get a lot more screen time, and the plot is not a carbon copy of the first (a classic flaw that dooms most sequels). However, its self-aware nature really makes this stand out. They “get it”, are in on the jokes, and just wanna have a good time.
Go see this movie. No seriously: turn off the World Cup, stop stalking your exes on Facebook, close your browser, and GO SEE THIS DAMN MOVIE. You will thank me later.
The Deep Dive (Spoilers)
While the basics of the plot are pretty simple (Instead of going undercover as high schoolers, they instead enroll in college to investigate drug dealers and smugglers), the big plot is focuses on the relationship between our dynamic duo. Tatum, after sitting in a college class that encourages him to explore who he is and what he really wants, realizes that maybe he wants something completely different from what he has. He joins the football team, becomes super frat-tastic, and discovers that he doesn’t want to be a cop. But most importantly, maybe he no longer wants to work, and be so close to, Jonah’s character. Tatum’s “finding himself” quest is the glue and undercurrent that keeps the movie together. The movie shows how and why both characters are drifting apart, all while laying the foundation for how they will come back together at the end. But, and this is a big but, the movie does all of this dramatic heavily lifting in very funny ways, keeping the audience entertained throughout the journey. Damn good job guys. However the crown jewel of this movie is its self-awareness. The movie, and characters, makes multiple references to 1) the movies that these actors have previously starred in, 2) the fact that this is a sequel and the trappings that accompany this fact, 3) the “buddy cop” movie cliques, 4) the fact that of this is completely fake, etc. It does so in such an unsubtle fashion, it comes really close to becoming a spoof of the entire genre, similar to “Hot Shot” or “Scary Movie”. However “22” keeps it in the lanes long enough to avoid this fate, and instead remains a legitimate story in its own right.
This movie is not deep, but it isn’t meant to be. There are a ton of cameo’s, surprises, and it will actually make you laugh out loud. Please go see it. DO IT!