22 Jump Street seemed like it would continue the precedent set in 21 Jump Street (and we’re talking about the 2012 & 2014 movies, not the 1980s Johnny Depp TV show), and in one sense, it did. It took two young(ish)-looking cops and sent them undercover as kids. In 21, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s characters went to high school. In 22, it was off to college.[pullquote]What made 21 Jump Street so charming was not just sending adults to school and watch them re-navigate classes, friendships, and the prom, but in having each character accidentally take on the wrong persona — and succeed.[/pullquote] Hill had to hang with the popular crowd and the jocks, while Tatum needed to pull off Advanced Placement Chemistry classes and learn to hack phones with his new nerd pals. It was a challenge for both, but the lack of cringe-humor made this film a winner. The buddy-duo stretched who they were as people and how they thought of themselves. [pullquote position=”right”]That was fresh and new, and very, very satisfying.[/pullquote]
22 Jump Street unfortunately put both characters where the stereotypes went the expected course, to the movie’s sincere detriment. Hill’s character was sent back to dweebdom, and much cringe-humor ensued. Ouch. Tatum got to run the ball for touchdowns on the field — disappearing into the glow of popularity — and acting the entitled jock for all he was worth. It wasn’t pretty. It was hard to root for either undercover cop when everything was so unpleasantly handled.
There was still humor, but it leaned towards the mean-spirited type. The young cops eventually shake off their descent into caricature-hood, but at the cost of a lot of audience goodwill.[pullquote]I’ll add this, however: the movie’s end is worth the price of admission right there.[/pullquote] I’m sure YouTube has this end scene kicking around somewhere, spoofing how many types of “schools” these two knuckleheaded cops would be sent to infiltrate next. It is howlingly funny. I’d watch every single one of those movies, especially 2121 Jump Street. Look out for the inspired Seth Rogen cameo, among others. You can tell everyone involved had a ton of fun inventing this ‘series.’ (And Channing Tatum really should push for 38 Jump Street: Dance Academy, because, you know, TATUM.)
Hell, here’s the video. Prepare thyselves:
If you get a chance, it’s still worth viewing 22 Jump Street, but my advice is to rewatch 21 Jump Street instead for the well-meaning laughs, as Hill and Tatum seem both out of place but unexpectedly fit right in.
Movie Grade: I was going to give this a C, but am adding the Plus purely for the perfection of the “promised” sequels. It’s that clever. C+
And this is RunPee Sis’s original 22 Jump Street review from when the movie came out in 2014:
Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)