22 Jump Street is a hilarious and cleverly satirical film that serves as a worthy sequel to its predecessor and a quality production on its own right. While it’s rare for a comedy sequel to be good at all, 22 Jump Street succeeds due to its self deprecating sense of humor and the strength of the lead performances by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. It’s hardly original, but for the specific genre that it goes for it works in every way possible.
Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have constructed a film with a very satirical side, similar to their previous work on The Lego Movie. Most of the comedy in the film derives from the satire of both action movie clichés and sequel clichés. Both of these elements allow the film to be self conscious of its intentions and give many hilarious moments, including a creative credit sequence that makes fun of many of the film’s qualities involving the conveniences of a sequel. This adds more humor to the film as well as solidifies the light hearted tone.
The main aspect that most of the film rides on is the chemistry between Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, which works fantastically. These two actors have a great back-and-forth dialogue that feels conversational but still funny. While the relationship goes in a predictable direction, the satire of the film makes fun of that in a variety of ways including one very funny montage. The supporting cast, including Nick Offerman and Ice Cube, are given more to do in this film and get to be involved in more of the plot. While there isn’t much in the way of new supporting cast, the actors do a good job across the board.
But what makes 22 Jump Street really work is the fact that the humor works. None of the jokes feel overused or stale, and the dialogue throughout is constantly hilarious and memorable. Even if there are flaws in the structure, this is still a comedy whose intentions are to be funny, and on that right, the film succeeds perfectly. Also impressive are the action sequences, which are very well choreographed and executed in a way that is just ludicrous enough to work, as well as a parody over action movie clichés.
In terms of flaws, 22 Jump Street has a few that detract from the humor. Structurally, it’s clearly parodying a generic structure, but similar to The Lego Movie, the film sometimes follows that structure to much so that it is hard to differentiate what was intentional or not. Also, the villains are not given nearly enough screen time, motivation, or originality to make them memorable at all. Even though most of the film does and should focus on the two leads, the antagonists are given very little to do.
22 Jump Street lives up to all expectations and is so far the comedy of the year. It’s a self conscious and self deprecating film that looks at genre clichés in a fresh way while still remaining hilarious throughout, as opposed to relying on a series of gags. One of the funniest films in recent memory, 22 Jump Street is a fantastic comedy that seems to be one of the best films of the summer movie season. Grade: -A