Thursday, 5 June 2014

22 Jump Street: Maximum Broverdrive

Remember 21 Jump Street? No? What's wrong with you? Jesus, it was only two years ago. You make me sick, you and your puny memory. This is why you never remember my birthday. Anyway, it's lucky for you that remembering 21 Jump Street is not high on the list of essential requirements for enjoying the sequel, because 91% of 22 Jump Street happens exactly like last time. EXACTLY LIKE LAST TIME. And while that's a problem for comedies like, say, Home Alone 2, it doesn't matter a jot here because it never, ever lets you forget it. Although you probably will because you forget everything.
I bet you don't even remember who these guys are. Ugh I hate you.

22 Jump Street kicks off with immediate nods to Bad Boys and Beverly Hills Cop, so it should be absolutely no surprise whatsoever that originality is not the order of the day. That said, being funny as fuck is very much the order of the day, and at this 22 Jump Street succeeds enormously. The idea of an entire first act spent pointing out its own deficiency sounds excruciating, but screenwriter Michael Bacall and directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller squeeze the joke so hard that it's impossible not to go with the flow.

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return as Jenko and Schmidt, obviously, and one of them is very funny and likeable while the other is Jonah Hill. Tatum's comedy chops are coming along nicely and, while his bromance with Hill is undeniably chuckleable, he's impressively capable of carrying his own scenes. He pitches Jenko's stupidity with the laser precision of a far more seasoned comic and handles the action triumphantly; check out the mid-air slo-mo pouting or the Cate Blanchett gag for proof. Hill, meanwhile, does a lot of unfunny improvisation and spends an entire scene shouting because the louder you are the funnier you are, AM I RIGHT?!?! Actually that's not very fair, Jonah Hill is quite funny sometimes but it's hard to like him because as a person he appears to be an unpleasant homophone.

It's a little too long and there's another pointless oops-we've-accidentally-taken-mind-bending-drugs-time-for-a-wacky-trip sequence, but by and large 22 Jump Street is a ruddy good laugh providing you're in a packed cinema. Its crowning glory, however, is avoiding the easy option of sticking outtakes at the end to make you go home thinking you had more fun than you did, instead deploying something way more appropriate, ingenious and frankly amazing for the credits sequence. I'll be honest: I wasn't looking forward to this film, but it pleasantly surprised my black, mirthless soul, and now I find myself in the odd position of awaiting the twenty-threequel with something approaching anticipation. I must be getting soft in my old age.

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