“Do the same thing as last time. Everyone's happy.”
After their early success this year with The Lego Movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller are back in the director’s chair for the sequel to their 2012 hit comedy, 21 Jump Street. It is a difficult feat to pull off a comedy sequel considering the fans are expecting the same formula from the original film but at the same time they also want something fresh and unique. There isn’t really anything unique about this sequel considering it is basically the same movie as the original with a few exceptions. It continues to bank on the great chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum and that is basically what kept me engaged with this film because most of the jokes were kind of predictable and repetitive. The screenwriters are also having fun with the fact that they know sequels are usually unimaginative and they simply tend to get louder, so they included several self-referential jokes throughout the film. 22 Jump Street is basically a parody of most Hollywood sequels, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it is better than the original because several of the jokes felt forced and repetitive. I’ll give this film credit for the energy and the bromantic chemistry between the leads, but there isn’t much more to this sequel. It is better than most comedies that have come out this year, but I don’t think it lives up to the freshness of the original film. There are some sharp and witty jokes throughout the film, but there are also many awkward moments where the comedy really doesn’t work. 22 Jump Street succeeds because it sticks with the same formula as the original, but I was hoping it would at least feel fresh and inventive. The self-mockery works for a while, but it isn’t enough to give it a free pass for it.
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are the reason why these comedies have worked so well, and it is hard to find a comedic duo with so much chemistry as these two. The story however is rather weak, and you really don’t care much for the plot. The leads are basically the reason why you will have a good time with the comedy, but I wish they could’ve put a little more effort on the plot. Some of the secondary performances were weak and I really had a problem with Jillian Bell’s performance as Mercedes. She brought the film down for me and every time she spoke I felt like the scene was forced on us. Ice Cube has a fantastic scene alongside Jonah Hill which had me rolling on the floor. That scene was hilarious along with the final credit sequences which were also fantastic. I understand why some critics consider this to be funnier than the original, but I still prefer the freshness of 21 Jump Street over this recycled sequel.