Sequels have that weird reputation of being either really good or really bad. In fact, the great Carl Gottlieb, who co-wrote the film “Jaws,” among others, once said that “the only sequel that loses money is the last one.” They either start out great or start out slow. I’m happy to report that “22 Jump Street” is definitely in the former.
After a brief recap of the first film (“Previously on 21 JUMP STREET”), we find the heroes from the previous film, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum), back in uniform and bored to tears. They take to working undercover off the clock, doing their best to infiltrate a recent smuggling ring. When things backfire, they are called on the carpet by their commander. They plead their case for what they are qualified to do. Jenko even suggests they protect the White House (ha ha). They are told that, due to the success of their first “back to school” assignment it’s time to do it again. This time they’re going to college!
Full of inside jokes (hey, we’re making a sequel) and fantastic performances, “22 Jump Street” is everything you want in a sequel and more. Directed by the same duo that not only did “21 Jump Street” but the incredible “Lego Movie,” the film is one hilarious scene after another. They are ordered by Captain Dickinson (Ice Cube) that they are being sent to Midstate College, where they are to investigate the death of a young woman believed killed by an illegal drug. Again, things don’t go as planned. Jenko is rceruited by the school’s quarterback to play football for the school, where Schmidt meets a young woman (Amber Stevens) who has a lot more in common with him then he knows.
The two stars are joined by some great new cast members as well as returning co-stars like Rob Riggle and Dave Franco. The script is top notch and even features a little “real life” humor when Schmidt is counseled for a few homophobic statements, similar in tone to what Jonah Hill endured last week for the same thing. The action scenes are well thought out and I promise you that, if you stay through the end credits, you will laugh even more. In fact, I’m giving the film and extra half-star just for the credits sequence, which rolls out scenes and posters from the next 20-plus sequels, all of which I hope eventually get made!