SYNOPSIS: The 21 Jump Street high school undercover cops Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are back, but this time they’re narco cops. That is until they botch an investigation into drug lord Ghost’s (Peter Stormare) operation. Their failure gets them demoted back to the 22 Jump Street (they moved across the road) program. Jump Street’s Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) sends them undercover, as unlikely brothers Brad and Doug McQuaid, to college to arrest the supplier of a drug named WHYPHY (WiFi). The bumbling, but self-confident duo infiltrates the college, but campus life—frat house parties, football and girls—threaten to blow apart their partnership.
Richard: 3 ½ Stars
Mark: 3 Stars
Richard: Mark, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are producers on the new Jump Street film, which, I guess, explains all the jokes about how much everything cost. At one point Hill actually says, “It’s way more expensive for no reason at all.” I don’t know how much the movie cost to make, but the self-aware jokes did make me laugh even though it is essentially a remake of the first film, with a few more Laurel and Hardy slapstick gags and amped up explosions. What was your take?
Mark: Richard, I liked this installment way more than the previous outing. I loved all the self-referential gags, including the brilliant end-credits that hilariously make fun of the inevitable sequels that will follow. I credit the directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, for the knowing pop culture sophistication they brought to the film. They directed the first one too, but they’ve grown more confident since their Lego Movie hit, which also tweaked the audience’s expectations in a similar way.
RC: The end credit sequence, which maps out the next sequels from number 3 to installment 43—they go to Beauty School and Magic School among other places of higher learning— is probably the funniest part of the movie. The stuff that comes before is amiable, relying on the Mutt and Jeff chemistry of Hill and Tatum for laughs. It’s boisterous and aims to please, but best of all are the self-referential jokes. By clowning around about the difficulty in making the sequel better than the original they’re winking at the audience, acknowledging that this is basically a spoof of Hollywood sequels. It’s subversive, meta and kind of brilliant.
MB: Yep. Because I can see explosions and pratfalls in any “action comedy”; it’s the subversive stuff that makes this movie stand apart. The intergender fight sequence between Jonah Hill and Jillian Bell (who is incredible throughout the film) is as subversive a take on sexual politics and “rape culture” that you will ever find. It’s these kinds of scenes that kept me laughing through the picture. The black stoner twins, played expertly by The Lucas Bros, were a masterpiece of writing and comic timing.
RC: I agree, but ill-timed jokes about Maya Angelou and Tracy Morgan were sore thumbs for me, but that’s more co-incidence, I guess than bad taste.
MB: I don’t think those jokes were deliberate, but they sure broke the spell for me. But then Ice Cube’s comic rants got me back.