'22 Jump Street' review: Sequel is funnier than the original

Jonah Hill, left, and Channing Tatum star in

Jonah Hill, left, and Channing Tatum star in "22 Jump Street."

Rating

4 Stars4/5

Liz Braun, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:11 PM ET

21 Jump Street mocked itself for being a movie based on a TV show.

22 Jump Street mocks itself for being a sequel.

Prepare to fall in love all over again as Schmidt and Jenko go to college.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as poorly disguised undercover officers in search of drug dealers in 22 Jump Street, a film that is actually funnier – and more clever – than the original.

Having finally cracked high school, the two go off to college where just about anything — dorm life, lectures, poetry events, football, fraternity hazing — is an opportunity for dimwitted behaviour. And personal reinvention, of course.

Everything about college gets skewered in 22 Jump Street.

Still pumped by the unexpected social triumph that was high school, Schmidt (Hill) is dismayed to discover that at college he's not that cool anymore.

But Jenko (Tatum) fits right in with the football and frat house crowd. In fact, he becomes best buds with another guy (Wyatt Russell) on the football team, and it's bros and beers all the time. Schmidt is left out and broken-hearted.

Meanwhile, the guys are not getting much closer to solving their drug case.

22 Jump Street is one large, on-going gag about the idiocy and expense of sequels, and within that framework is a dazzling display of gags based on the brain vs. brawn divide of our heroes.

That means thrilling action sequences full of exuberant nonsense — Tatum is like Spider Man for a couple of stunts — matched by wit and repartee that take no prisoners. Even HRH Beyonce is the butt of a joke.

Tatum and Hill are in good company for this return engagement. Ice Cube is back as Captain Dickson, king of anger mismanagement, and fellow college students are played by the aforementioned Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens and Jimmy Tatro, with stand-out turns from identical wiseacres the Lucas Brothers and psycho roommate Jillian Bell.

(Bell has scenes with Jonah Hill that transcend funny — the sort of inspired, surreal comedy that leaves you slack-jawed in the dark with appreciation.)

Although sequels are generally an uphill battle, lacking the element of surprise as they do, 22 Jump Street manages to sidestep that little problem by upping the ante on the antics. Action movies, cop dramas, buddy films and college tales — it's all grist for the comedy mill here. This is frantic, boisterous, celebratory silliness.

Get some soon.

Twitter: @LizBraunSun

liz.braun@sunmedia.ca

 


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