’22 Jump Street’ Review

Published 11 months ago by , Updated October 7th, 2014 at 1:21 am,

22 Jump Street Review starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill 22 Jump Street Review

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill make the ride once again worthwhile – whether covering the same type of material or breaking into new territory.

22 Jump Street finds detectives Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) doing adult undercover work while still dealing with the turbulence in their partnership. When Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) pulls the odd pair back into the Jump Street program, they are psyched at the prospect of tackling a case almost identical to their first one – only from the more raucous setting of college, this time.

However, things don’t go quite as planned: the “same old, same old” just doesn’t seem to cut with this new case, and in the collegiate setting it’s Jenko (not Schmidt) who finds his place among the school’s frat boy jock elite. With their cop mojo and bromance both out of whack, Schmidt and Jenko find themselves in over their heads; can they break out of their 21 Jump Street molds and find a new approach to both their police work and their friendship, in time to catch the crooks?

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 22 Jump Street 22 Jump Street Review

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in ’22 Jump Street’

Comedy sequels are often some of the biggest disappointments (Hangover 2 being a recent example for many), for the proven reason that when it comes to humor in particular, lighting almost never strikes twice. Comedy follow-ups have the thinnest of lines to walk between retaining familiarity and inspiring new laughs, and it’s a precarious balance to maintain for the entirety of a feature-film run time. Facing that challenge, 21 Jump Street and LEGO Movie directos Chris Miller and Phil Lord have once again defied filmmaking logic and injected a second shot of life into the Jump Street brand.

As always with Lord and Miller, the key is in approach: 22 Jump Street succeeds entirely because if its own self-awareness that it is, ostensibly, an obligatory studio sequel intended to achieve success through mimicry. With the filmmakers in on the joke, there is breathing room to approach the material with clarity and purpose, hitting the necessary character beats (the Schmidt/Jenko bromance) and maintaining the necessary consistency in tone with the first film.

Ice Cube Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 22 Jump Street 22 Jump Street Review

Ice Cube, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in ’22 Jump Street’

Best yet, the confidence in the approach to the core storyline and comedic style allows Lord and Miller to go into LEGO Movie territory with Easter eggs and references. 22 Jump Street is a virtual cornucopia of nods and winks (and a few middle fingers) to other action movies and/or directors, making it a richly dense viewing experience, in addition to being a funny one. Also helping to preserve the freshness of the proceedings is the fact that the movie so regularly mocks its own ‘bigger budget, bigger spectacle,’ hollowness, thereby countering most of the usual “sequelitis” drag. There are still some moments in the episodic lineup that don’t hit that well – but as always, comedy is subjective and for the most part the filmmakers have a strong lineup of scenes and gags to offer.

Screenwriters Michael Bacall (21 Jump Street), Oren Uziel (Mortal Kombat: Rebirth) and Rodney Rothman (Grudge Match) – with Hill contributing to the story – get points for some great sequences, running gags, callbacks and also some nice narrative twists that deliver some great payoffs. However, it’s not a total victory on the script front.

Amber Stevens and Jonah Hill in 22 Jump Street 22 Jump Street Review

Amber Stevens and Jonah Hill in ’22 Jump Street’

Even with some twists on expectations, at its core, the sequel is pretty much the same overall setup as the first film – ironically or otherwise – and in between the steady feed of hilarity, the character drama and thematic points often feel like rehash rather than progression or advancement. While the movie claims to be the next step in the Jenko/Schmidt relationship, the sequel really feels like a situation where the characters lose and then re-gain the same ground established in the first installment. (An especially hilarious credits sequence all but confirms the fact that the filmmakers, too, know that the Jump Street well has been drained dry after two runs.)

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill make the ride once again worthwhile – whether covering the same type of material or breaking into new territory. Marital banter, physical comedy gags, a reversed loser/winner perspective within the college setting; the duo are given enough to do in order to generate the necessary renewed passion and commitment to the material. Tatum, now more comfortable in the comedic playhouse, gets some nice understated legwork out of Jenko’s lunk-head mentality; not to be outdone, Hill gets some equally good laughs working Schmidt’s passive-aggressive neurosis. In short: the boys get enough of an old/new mix to keep them confident but also committed to going for broke all over again.

Wyatt Russell and Channing Tatum in 22 Jump Street 22 Jump Street Review

Wyatt Russell and Channing Tatum in ’22 Jump Street’

In addition to the two leads, 22 Jump Street is packed with a lineup of supporting actors and cameos appearances who all manage to score fairly big. Amber Stevens (Greek) makes a strong impression as Maya, Schmidt’s feisty art student love interest – while Workaholics actress Jillian Bell is a breakout hit as Mercedes, Maya’s creepy roommate. Ice Cube is given a bit more to do with his tough-guy captain role, while Cowboys & Aliens actor Wyatt Russell provides a good bro for Tatum’s Jenko to vibe with (the pair are pretty hilarious together). Other great appearances come from Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec), twin actors The Lucas Brothers, newcomer Jimmy Tatro and Peter Stormare, playing his usual nefarious bad guy role – as well as callbacks from the first film like Rob Riggle and Dave Franco (a moment regrettably spoiled by the trailers).

In the end, 22 Jump Street pulls off the comedy sequel balancing act better than just about any comparative franchise (read: The Hangover), recapturing most of the magic created by its odd pair leads while managing to offer something (slightly) different – with extra points for skewing its own sequelness along the way. Sure, in a larger sense the journey is still about two cops (who look way too old for school) trying to break up a campus drug ring; but the journey proves to be just as worthwhile the second time around – for some fans, maybe even better than the first time out.


[poll id=”817″]

22 Jump Street is now in theaters. It is 112 minutes and is Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence.

Want to hear the Screen Rant Editors discuss the film? Tune in to the latest episode of the #SRUndergound podcast.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Agree 110% Kofi! It was the same but…different. Loved watching the ending credits. So many references too. Are you guys going to post an article listing all of them?

  2. How many times has a comedy sequel been better than the original? I found myself asking that question before I went in. After last night’s viewing, 22 joins that list.

    • I thought the first one (21 JS) was funny…this was better.

  3. What helped thus movie so much was how they just embraced the title of “this is a bigger budget sequel to a reboot that nobody thought would be successful”. The movie is an exact parallel to the first movie yet works because they constantly make fun of that fact. Hell this is one comedy sequel where is actually look forward to a trilogy.

    • This* movie, I’d* actually

  4. Right on! Had the film wallowed in the self-referential, meta shtick it would have been a less-than-one trick pony. Instead, its comic richness extends far beyond that for all the reasons mentioned here. What a nice surprise!

  5. I literally just saw the movie and I gotta say, it was really funny. While the first one being a generally comedic movie, the second one overshadows the first by a mile.

    Ice cube is hilarious!

  6. Two of my biggest complaints the comercials showed way to much and ruined most of the jokes and the best joke when schmidt throws his gun in the park wasn’t even in there and my 2nd was that girl from workaholics she was terrible and plain not funny I dont think a single person laughed when she was on screen they could of casted virtually anyone else and they would have been funnier than her terrible attempt at humor

  7. I enjoyed the movie and found it entertaining and funny. It was well worth the price of admission and did not disappoint. Sometimes you just want to eat that extra, guilty second piece of cake. 22 Jump Street was extra cake with extra ice cream and a cherry on the top!

  8. That scene when Jenko realizes that Schmidt was sleeping with the captain’s daughter was effin’ hilarious. LMAO!
    I’m onboard for the next sequel.
    Heck, they’ve even begun construction for the 23 JumpStreet condo . Right next to the old church.
    The end credit scenes was hilarious!


    • Dude spoiler man. Not the place for that7

  9. One of the funniest movies Ive ever watched, loved all the meta humor, loved all the relationship humor, loved all the college humor and the puns/wordplay.
    My film of the summer so far.

  10. well, this movie was slightly dissapointing. i think they tried to throw in too many 1 hadned punch lines in there, and the plot was all over the place, jonah was the only true funny one, but tatum had his moments. all in all, if rumors about a trilogy are true, they need to amp up the funny, tone down on the vulgar language, and will someone please announce channing tatum as our new #Gambit already??

    • Agreed,

      down on the slapstick a bit too to replace that with the better written humour.

      Hill and Tatum are a good pairing but this should have been much better.

  11. you may be the most erotic reviewer I have ever read in my life in one sentence it sounds like you’re putting the movie down then in the next sentence it sounds like it may be the best sequel ever to a comedy and you keep switching back and forth through your whole review you are one very confusing person when it comes to giving reviews I didn’t know if you like the movie or not until the very end you really need to learn how to read you a movie properly and either talk properly about it and say you like it during the review or say you don’t like it during the whole review but it has to be one or the other or maybe just say it was okay you are one very confusing reviewer that’s all I got to say about that

    • Correction, Jamie, I’m a very EROTIC reviewer, by your own admission. Hey baby. Rowr.

    • @Jamie

      Seriously though, it’s called being thorough and balanced in your reviews. I don’t just say whether I like it or not, I talk about what the movie IS, what it’s TRYING TO DO, and how successful or not it is in reaching that goal.

      If you go by paragraphs, the 3rd paragraph and final paragraph of any of my reviews contains a summary of my overall feeling about the film, for those who don’t need the more in-depth breakdown.

      So I’m putting it down, perhaps you need to examine why you’re having trouble picking it up?

  12. “and in between the steady feed of hilarity,”

    That is a more than generous assessment. The film was not humour free but this was not what I would rate as a good comedy.

    Glad I saw it but will never give that much time to it ever again.

    Nowhere near as good as the original.

  13. I mostly enjoy good movies with humor, but holy s*** this movie is the WORSE! I sat throughout the entire movie and I did not laugh at all. It bugged me how people thought the wash out humor was so damn funny? It was worse than the first one that aired.

  14. I loved 21 Jump Street. It was really funny.

    22 Jump Street was not funny.

    Good luck to you for making a shed load of money.

    I would like my money back on this one.

  15. For some reason I never got around to seeing 21 Jump Street, but I just saw this movie over the weekend and thought it was pretty great, probably only one notch below Pineapple Express as far as action-comedies go. Definitely going to have to watch the first one soon.

    Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have really good chemistry, and the movie was enjoyable throughout. I also thought Hill had really good chemistry with Amber Stevens (who I loved on Greek back in the day). The scene at the poetry slam where they meet and also when they stay up all night talking while M83’s “Midnight City” plays were great and really natural, an uncommon thing for movies like this.

    Best of all was the end, the whole spring break action sequences with the Lamborghini and the helicopter were all great. I thought it was a nice touch that they actually got Diplo to perform on the beach and also thought all the fight/chase choreography was spot on.

  16. The 1st one was kind of cute. This one is just a blatant ripoff. It was like the writers expected the audience to be extremely stupid and had to be lead by the hand and shown when to laugh at the forced jokes. Definitely a movie aimed at the LCD of America…

  17. This one was way funnier though