Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Ice Cube, The Lucas Brothers, Nick Offerman
Written by: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman, based on a story by Michael Bacall, Jonah Hill
Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Running Time: 112
Date: 06/13/2014

22 Jump Street (2014)

3 Stars (out of 4)

'Jump' Roast

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The characters in the new sequel 22 Jump Street refer to the events of the previous movie, the surprise hit 21 Jump Street, as if they were a movie. For example, no one on the police force expected the whole 21 Jump Street thing to work, and so they want the two heroes, Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) to do the exact same thing again, only with more money, even though everyone knows that this new thing won't be as good as last time.

Well, it is as good as last time, and every bit as zany and funny. It pushes the "bad sequel" idea as well as the "bromance" angle between Tatum and Hill, to delirious degrees. Their interactions are breathtakingly close to a generic movie romance. But with the handsome Tatum and the squat Hill taking on the roles, they are bent to classic comedy proportions.

Indeed, Hill has earned Oscar nominations playing comical sidekicks for Brad Pitt (Moneyball) and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street). He has a gift for making his co-stars look good, while still getting the credit. Tatum can be naturally funny onscreen, but Hill makes him doubly so, emphasizing his slow-to-awareness takes on one end, and his physical prowess on the other. In 22 Jump Street the pair goes undercover to college to catch the manufacturer of a new drug called "WHYPHY." Schmidt hooks up with a pretty art major, Maya (Amber Stevens), while Jenko finds a perfect match, and a new BFF, in football star/frat boy "Zook" (Wyatt Russell). It's Zook, not Maya, who throws up a divider between our heroes; it's very much a movie about love -- if not sex -- between bros.

Ice Cube is back, and funny as ever, as Captain Dickson, and Nick Offerman sets the cynical tone as Deputy Chief Hardy.

That duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are at the helm, magically capable of turning bad ideas into good ones. They not only made 21 Jump Street, but also this year's biggest hit (so far) and one of its best, The Lego Movie. With 22 Jump Street they achieve a steady stream of giggles, and a couple of strong, satisfying belly laughs.

But where they go wrong is where a great many movies go wrong today; it's simply too long. It can't sustain its pace and humor for a full two hours, as few comedies ever can. Audiences may think they're getting more movie for their ticket money, but the great comedians know to leave audiences wanting more.

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