22 Jump Street
Undercover cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) have a new assignment: to find and apprehend a drug-trafficking ring on a college campus and then report to their superior, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). Before you know it, they're deep undercover as students at the college. Jenko befriends Zook (Wyatt Russell), a quarterback with a suspicious tattoo, while Schmidt flirts and hooks up with an art student, Maya (Amber Stevens).
Forget about the plot because, when it comes down to it, you're watching 22 Jump Street for the laughs. Despite being written by three screenwriters, Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman, the screenplay unfortunately caters to the lowest common denominator with its repetitive, juvenile, asinine humor. Schmidt hanging from the side of a truck as it races down the highway is a thrilling set piece, but is it funny? Not really. Or how about when he battles an octopus stuck to his face? Cue the You'd have to have the unsophisticated, shallow mind of a 13-year-old to laugh at something like that. The same can be said for the cheap, desperate gay jokes. In case you're wondering, yes, you will find a sight gag involving vomit. The in-jokes are amusing at best rather than witty, and they also serve as a reminder of just how the movie is full of itself. It's as though the movie's telling you "Look how cool and funny I am! Don't you just love it?" over and over. The tongue-in-cheek in-jokes simply get tiresome and annoying more often than not. The attempts to infuse the comedy with dramatic realism toward the end fall flat and feel tacked-on rather than organic.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have a modicum of comedic chemistry, but they're far from Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker or even Chris Farley and David Spade. Perhaps they need funnier, fresher material to show off their comedic chops more effectively. Much like in 21 Jump Street, they do have a bromantic bond that might be more than just bromantic the more you think about it---they like each other on a different level i.e. like true lovers, but this time around the film toys around with that possibility by poking fun at it. The running time of 112 minutes could have been trimmed down to a breezy 90 minutes, but instead the film overstays its welcome and drags a lot until its hilarious end credits which, by then, is too little, too late. Ultimately, 22 Jump Street is yet another example of the decay of American comedy. What its popularity says about our society is a whole other matter.
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