Monday, June 23, 2014

22 Jump Street review; a great sequel

Just over two years ago, we were treated to a hell of a reboot with 21 Jump Street.  Based on a popular television series in the 90's, the movie went on to make a boatload of money and was very well received by critics everywhere.  I personally loved the film and looked forward to the announced sequel, aptly titled, 22 Jump Street.  All the major players are back.  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are back as co-directors.  Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as the leads, alongside Ice Cube and Nick Offerman in supporting roles.  I can't wait to tell you more... let's go!

What I liked about the film:
The Bromance / The Leads
Hill and Tatum are just so damn good in these films.  Their onscreen chemistry is undeniable.  They so perfectly compliment each other in every way; they're comedic approach, their physical appearances, etc.  This all lends itself to great physical comedy.  I really liked that the characters still had evolving story arcs.  This made them interesting and still made us care about them.

The Writing
As I mentioned above, the characters evolve in this movie, and I really enjoyed that.  But the story, while similar to the first film, is just different enough to make us want to see what happens.  Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman wrote a terrific script that so self-aware, you can't help but laugh.  The writers poke fun at themselves in such ingenious ways, it may seriously be too smart for some of the target demographics to pick up.  Lines like 'do the same thing, exactly like the first time' was so obviously a play on Hollywood's system of creating sequels, I was rolling in laughter.  I especially love when the Ice Cube character says 'we spent all the money on that big action scene at the beginning, and now we have no money left'.  That's seriously funny stuff!

What I didn't like about the film:
Forced Relationships
The sequel didn't do a very good job of flushing out the supporting characters like the first film did.  In fact, there are relationships the main characters develop that almost feel forced.  Tatum's character finds he has an instant connection with a college football quarterback, and it didn't feel genuine to me, like his relationship with Jonah Hill.  Speaking of Hill, he forms a relationship with a young woman that starts out interesting as he appears to want more out of the relationship than his lady friend; but ultimately it devolves into schtick comedy involving other supporting characters.  Don't get me wrong, some if it his hilarious and it may be a way to show the characters growth.  But for me, some of it was just too much.

The Verdict:
A Great Sequel
I really really enjoyed this film.  And my favorite aspect of it was that it's able to make fun of itself and the Hollywood system it was born from.  One scene has Hill observing the new headquarters at 22 Jump St. and says, 'hey look, that office looks like a giant cube of ice', in reference to Ice Cube's character's new office.  I mean come on!  Those kind of winks and self-aware jokes are so good.  And stick around for the entire credits at the end because they are hilarious in and of themselves.  Two big thumbs up for me and I can't wait to see this movie again soon.

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