Movie Review: ’22 Jump Street’

22 Jump Street Review
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill star in '22 Jump Street' (Photo by Glen Wilson © 2014 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

I grew up in the eighties. As such, I’m a bit protective of certain TV and film properties. One of my favorite shows as a kid was 21 Jump Street. Two years ago, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum thought it would be fun to use the show’s title and make a generic movie about young undercover cops. Now, I found the movie far funnier than it probably had any right in being but events in the film’s final scenes involving the TV show’s original cast members left me sad and angry by the time the credits rolled.

What would happen with the ridiculously titled 22 Jump Street? I think I may be having some sort of debilitating mental attack but I didn’t hate this movie. In fact, I laughed quite a bit.  As much as I’m suffering from a Jonah Hill overload these days, and don’t find the inclusion of Channing Tatum in any project all that exciting, they work well together.

They showed great chemistry in 21 Jump Street and kept up their energy level in this sequel.  Overall, I actually prefer the follow-up to the original, but not because it’s a better movie.  Allow me to explain. You see, the first movie had far more entertaining and engaging supporting characters (thanks to actors like Dave Franco, Brie Larson, and Rob Riggle).  Here, the new cast of suspects are played just fine by the actors (which include Kurt Russell’s son) but their characters just aren’t compelling or memorable (aside from Jillian Bell’s hilarious turn in an initially unassuming role).

Then there’s the overlying issue I had with this franchise getting made the way that it has: This isn’t 21 Jump Street.  It’s a buddy cop movie involving undercover work and predictable setups.  I don’t have a problem with that, it just shouldn’t be titled 21 Jump Street and I reserve the right to be frustrated and annoyed at Hollywood simply poaching properties for the nostalgia of the name and not the actual content.


So while I thought the plot of the original and its characters were better than this new installment, simply by being farther removed from the core elements of 21 Jump Street the TV series, 22 Jump Street the movie is able to stand on its own more. Of course, some of you will watch this movie and find the change to working undercover in college versus high school super subtle. I’m clearly splitting the finest of hairs here. But it’s the only way my mind can cope with more movies based on a show I loved that completely ignores the genre of its source material.  So there.

Will you like 22 Jump Street? If you liked the first one, then that answer should be obvious. If you didn’t, again I think the answer is quite obvious. For what it may be worth, this is one of the better comedies of 2014 and I suppose you can take my inability to outright bash this movie as either a sign that global warming isn’t occurring in hell or that this may be a nice diversion from the summer heat. I, for one, will be re-watching The Fault in Our Stars this weekend. But if you decide to instead check out Hill and Tatum’s latest antics, make sure to keep your butt planted in your seat for the entire run of credits. There’s a great sequence at the beginning of the credits and a little gem right at the very end.

GRADE: B

22 Jump Street is rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence.

– Reviewed by Ian Forbes

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