Most jokes just aren’t as funny the second time around. Luckily, in this follow-up to the surprise hit 21 Jump Street, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie) have put a new spin on the old TV series. The first film was all about how lame it was to even try to make a movie of the 21 Jump Street TV show; this one is about how lame it is to even try to make a sequel to the 21 Jump Street movie … Maybe the jokes aren’t all that new.
Things begin with cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) doing grown-up undercover work, posing as buyers to drug smuggler ‘The Ghost’ (Peter Stormare). Naturally it all goes wrong in the usual buddy-cop movie fashion, which is a bit of a let-down really: fortunately, having failed as regular undercover cops, Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) informs our duo that their days of trying something different are over and they’re to do the exact same thing they did last time. Only this time, they’re going to college.
After a brief stop-over at Jump Street’s new headquarters (yes, at 22 Jump Street, former church and home of Vietnamese Jesus) to check in with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), it’s off to a local college to find out who’s selling the drug known as WHYFHY (Work Hard Yeah, Play Hard Yeah). Same deal as last time: get in good with the dealers, find out who the supplier is, crack jokes along the way – everyone’s happy.
Once on campus, Jenko quickly bonds with jock and potential life-partner Zook (Wyatt Russell), while Schmidt ends up hanging with the arty crew at a slam poetry evening where his improvised poetry – never not funny – ends up impressing student Maya (Amber Stevens). Soon the duo are drifting apart: how can they solve crimes when they can’t even get along?
Thankfully this keeps the jokes coming at a steady pace because not all of them work. There aren’t any real duds, but some of the running jokes get a little stale even when the joke is “this joke is getting a little stale”. It’s the chemistry between Tatum – who gets funnier the dumber he acts – and Hill that keeps this going over the flat patches, and there’s enough comedy gold here (especially the hilarious end credits sequence) to have you leaving with a smile on your face.
Written by Anthony Morris