Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, the unlikely comedy partnership are back for more laughs in 22 Jump Street coming out on Friday in which the expectations are surprisingly high for what the directors are calling a sequel spoof. The premise of the sequel is almost exactly the same as their first film together, 21 Jump Street, based upon the comedy television series from the 80s. This time though, instead of being undercover cops on assignment to uncover a drug ring in high school, they have graduated to college to discover who are supplying students with a new drug called WHYPHY.
Fans of the first movie will remember Jonah Hill as the popular guy chasing a beautiful girl in high school, but in the sequel Tatum is the cool member of the duo. Tatum mixes with the fraternity brothers of the college and becomes a star member of the football team. Hill is portrayed as nerdy and makes friends with the art students like Maya, played by Amber Stevens from The Amazing Spider-Man. The roles are therefore more stereotypical than the role-reversal in the last film that earned them many of laughs.
Captain Dickson has returned to the film, again played by Ice Cube, to give the boys assignments and criticize them for comically failing their goal of shutting down the drug ring. Ice Cube always has an added value element in comedy films so it makes sense that he has an expanded role this time around.
The college life presented in 22 Jump Street is no different from the likes of Animal House or Van Wilder. Sadly there is no context to what real college life is about with the juggle or work versus play, but instead focuses on continuous over the top partying. And when they say that it is to be a commentary on sequels, it seems they are only referring mostly to ones from the 1980′s and 1990′s like Home Alone 2, but also the film has a strong Hangover part II feel.
Tatum and Hill knew that the expectations would be high for the sequel, 22 Jump Street, even if it was a spoof, so they made the film more outlandish and over the top than the first. “I think we always thought we had a bit of handcuffs on in the first movie, being in high school and obviously the underage thing, and going to college would be a bit more wild,” said Tatum.
Hill said the two were debating with the idea of making a sequel but did not want to because they are usually so much worse than the originals. But after discussing it with the director’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller, known for creating the hit Lego Movie, everyone decided it would be best to just call out the fact that sequels are bad and make the movie into a spoof. “And we did and people really responded to it and it allowed us to focus on making a cool movie,” Hill continued.
For people just looking to have a good time and enjoy some laughs the film will be a surprising success, but don’t expect it to hit any artistic targets or for the viewer to be able to connect emotionally with the characters. But overall the spoof strategy seems to have worked for Hill and Tatum on 22 Jump Street as the sequel is expected to make over $55 million in its opening weekend, nearly $20 million higher than the original.
By B. Taylor Rash