22 Jump Street is the kind of sequel you get from people who hate sequels. That’s not an entirely bad thing. This is the first sequel Hollywood wunderkinds Chris Lord and Phil Miller have helmed, though not the first they’ve inspired: they fobbed off Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 to Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, while 2017 promises a second Lego Movie, directed by Chris McKay. 22 Jump Street, follow-up to Lord and Miller’s surprisingly great comedy, 21 Jump Street, demonstrates the pair’s opinion of sequels – unnecessarily faithful iterations that hew too closely to their predecessors, with little to distinguish them but a bigger budget – and goes some way towards explain their reluctance to continue those film franchises.
Like a couple schoolboys forced to complete homework they have no interest in, Lord and Miller go out of their way to draw attention to the silliness of the task at hand. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll be familiar with the speech Nick Offerman delivers – “We’ve invested a lot of money to make sure Jump Street keeps going” – and this kind of blatant, ain’t-I-a-stinker meta-humour continues unabated throughout, as cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) go undercover in college to hunt down a drug dealer. The film is rife with references to unnecessary bigger budgets, the similarity of the plot and so forth – and they aren’t kidding. This is practically a carbon copy of the first film’s storyline, with college replacing high school and slam poetry replacing drama.
Ah, but what distinguishes Lord and Miller’s filmography thus far is the way that they have so much fun with their homework, colouring inside the lines but doodling in the margins as well… Continue reading at The Essential.