View Full Version : 22 Jump Street (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)

Henry Gale
06-15-2014, 05:00 AM
IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294449/)


Henry Gale
06-15-2014, 05:55 AM
Not as assured or refreshing as the original, and that's an inevitability of its very existence that the movie internalizes from the first shot, which sort of becomes its own weird form of new terrain for the genre and most blockbuster movie franchising.

It's a movie so rightfully disillusioned by the financial and knee-jerk reasons behind it as a sequel, that in being an extension of a surprisingly successful initial outing, the rules are laid out by 21 (and 22's opening scenes), and that inherited structure dictates the plotting of nearly every beat, but hinges on you knowing exactly where things are supposed to go and subverting it as much as it can. Even if the scenes feel the same, the outcomes and laughs stem from very different feelings.

There are the points along the way where it does feel like the overt knowing of its comedy-sequel pitfall territory isn't enough, and that it takes the place of truly figuring out how to be original (this movie's drug sequence and an echoed device from the first movie's climax come to mind), but it does still feel like enough of its own thing, even as a cheek-to-cheek close companion to the first, that it finds a humourous niche with that cheerfully cynical voice.

I'm almost worried that self-aware humour is too subtle, densely layered and generally inaccessibly meta so much of the time that the average audience member might just vibe on the character's personalities and actions in a given scene to find enjoyment rather than trying to probe what the movie's really trying to do with it. The Meet-Cute scene, for instance, is such an insanely nerdy, in-jokily constructed bit of comedy that the theatre laughed a lot and it progressed the plot in an obvious way, but the cogs of it felt like it was only really meant to play for me.

Above all though, the mode that the film settles into the strongest is using its circumstances and characters journeys to this point to make this a relationship drama. It's the second act of Hill and Tatum having ridden into the proverbial sunset in the first movie, the best of friends and the best at their jobs, only to realize that trying to recapture the magic of what they had is not as easy as it seems. The college setting means they meet new people and stray from their "mission", leaving themselves to become very different people, despite the rules of their job (Ice Cube at HQ, or society, or Sony Pictures), dictating what they should be doing.

I think my audience seemed very weirded out by just how much you could swap out either of the leads for a romantic partner and the dialogue would be identical. It's like they made the version of the movie telling the studio why it would be a ridiculous idea, and they let them make it anyway, regardless of what the general public might think. But then again, the studio claims it was their highest testing comedy ever, so who knows what to believe.

Lord and Miller have been talking about just how insane the pre-production, shooting and editing of this was even before a trailer was out. And seriously, they shot it in between October and December of last year and only finished editing it 18 days before its release. Half of the time the first one had, aaaand all done right between the final stretch of their Lego Movie production. Sadly, it does show more often than I'd like, as it certainly doesn't have the same technical sheen or tight energy -- comedic, action or otherwise -- of the first, it's shot kind of sloppily and reaction coverage seems used to tie scenes together more than any written script, but that doesn't mean it ever sags or goes through any given scene without doing something very funny or thematically satisfying. I'm stunned it was nearly two hours since it felt a half hour shorter, I laughed more times than I could ever both to count, and I will absolutely watch it again, so I guess Lord & Miller's sensibilities are just so pure and quickly instinctual that even when put in these circumstances of helming a fast-tracked comedy sequel while they were in the process of finishing a huge animated one, they pull it off.

I guess it would've been a bit greedy for them to clinch two comedic masterpieces in the same half of one calender year, but this will certainly do just fine. Even if it might still rank as their weakest directorial effort, that just speaks to how stunningly strong the rest have been, especially if this still ends up being as worthwhile as it is, and more entertaining than most commercial things I could hope to see in the middle of Summer Movie Season [insert explosion noise].

*** / 7.6

06-15-2014, 09:51 AM
I think I might've liked this one even more than the first.

06-15-2014, 10:31 PM
It's really funny (at times), but it's kind of a terrible movie.

06-16-2014, 05:21 PM
Perhaps I wasn't in the right mood for this, but barring brief flashes of inspiration, most of it struck me as insufferably smug, lazy, and to borrow a term from critic Sam Adams, meta-homophobic (http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/the-meta-homophobia-of-22-jump-street). And speaking of critics, what's with all the return-to-form accolades for Ice Cube? He riffs endlessly on the same tired sequel-budget gags, and in one scene yells a lot while trashing a catering table after making the "aw hell naw" face at Jonah Hill, all of which is allegedly hilarious.

Henry Gale
06-17-2014, 04:10 PM
It didn't necessarily bother me considering I realize the gestation period for movies (even ones as rushed as this), and how recent the afflictions to the bits are, but this movie does have a few really unfortunately timed jokes. The professor doing an impression of Tracy Morgan to his class, Amber Stevens referring to Hill's character as "Maya Angelou" more than once for his slam poetry session, and Tatum's character's diatribe towards one of the villains for calling them gay slurs, while Hill finds himself on a mini-apology tour for doing the same thing while promoting this very movie.

At a certain point, certain cultural jokes in stuff like this can always turn sour for unforeseen reasons (for instance, The Lonely Island's Lazy Sunday now plays a lot darker when they rush out of the convenience store exclaiming "Ghost like Swayze!"), but it's just a shame that they had to be so fresh and elicit yikes, oofs, groans and uncomfortable shuffling like they did in my screening.

The girl next to me was particularly annoying about it though, whispering to her friend, "OMG this movie predicted all this bad stuff!"...

10-19-2014, 12:00 PM
Diminishing returns. I like the off-hand mumbled verbal interplay between the leads, and the deadpan roommate of the token love interest, but the whole football subplot should have been dumped completely - it was a drag on the Looney Toons joke machine this could have been.

11-14-2014, 04:19 PM
I loved Ice Cube in this- the rant at parents weekend had me rolling, but didn't think this was as strong as the first movie. Ending falls apart like most comedies.

Pop Trash
12-02-2014, 12:30 PM
I'm with Rowland. Ice Cube kinda sucked. "Oh you're fucking my daughter? Well let me make the same patented Ice Cube Mad Dog Face for the rest of the movie cuz that's hilarious!"

Henry Gale
12-02-2014, 07:35 PM
For me the laughs in those scenes came so much more from Hill's doe-eyed, dizzied shock against Ice's unflinching death stare, with his mild-mannered reasoning in the face of it doing him no favours.

One of my absolute favourite moments both times I've seen it is when you hear the loud velcro sound off-camera the first time after the reveal and realize he's fastening a kevlar vest.

Pop Trash
12-02-2014, 09:14 PM
K the ending of this is inspired. Bumping my rating a bit.

05-08-2015, 01:58 PM
Heh, finally watched this. I like that Nick Offerman said early on that "it's always worse the second time," because it's true. I think the series' jabs on high school life was much, much more inspired than its jabs on college. I thought I'd get tired of all the meta-commentary jokes, but I ended up enjoying those the most. I especially loved that Offerman offhandedly said the brass making all the decisions was a "she" in reference to Amy Pascal. Also Tatum referencing White House Down and being told it's a dumb idea.