Self-referential Comedy Fuels Sequel
By Shyama Krishna Kumar | ENS | Published: 02nd August 2014 10:22 AM |
BANGALORE: Just when you think you’ve had enough summer sequels to last you a lifetime, 22 Jump Street pounces at you with a mad fervor that’s both delightful and inventive. Bringing back the extremely charismatic duo, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, 22 Jump Street goes ahead of its predecessor in its entertainment value.
22 Jump Street kicks off with Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) on a regular drug bust that blows up in their faces, quite literally, ending up with Schmidt getting attacked by an octopus that latches itself onto his face. That mission having proven a flop, with the drug suppliers fleeing right under their noses, Schmidt and Jenko are called into the office of Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman), who informs them that while the new formula is not working, they need to go back to what they do best. (Meta anyone?)
The sequel sees them sent off to college this time around to track a new synthetic drug that’s doing the rounds. “Same identities. Same assignment. Infiltrate the dealer. Find the supplier,” says Chief Hardy and you think you’re on familiar turf, when suddenly the directors (Phil Lord, Chris Miller) decide to pull the rug out from under you. Nothing’s the same this time around and they’ll take a dig at everything possible: high-budget sequels, homoeroticisim, human sexuality, Harvey Milk, platonic rom-coms, romantic triangles, slam poetry, art, whodunits, and more.
The movie works because it knows exactly what it is and even though self-referential humour is now the newest thing on the block, it helps 22 Jump Street, because of Tatum and Hill’s unbeatable chemistry. And it definitely helps that Tatum is a home-grown looker, almost like a live version of Johnny Bravo. There’s a moment in the film when Tatum gets an under-the-radar dig at his own career when he suggests that maybe he and Hill could go undercover in the Secret Service, a reference to the less than stellar box office of his movie White House Down. Hill and Cube are not too happy with the idea, but Tatum mumbles that he likes it. It’s extremely lovable and ingeniously funny.
Even visually, the gags have improved. A memorable car chase within the college grounds turns out to be a great tribute piece, and is also shot in a way that dramatically increases the humour. During the car chase, the boys and their chasers pass by the Benjamin J Hill School For Cinema Studies. In case this comes as a surprise, this is a reference to classic comedian Benny Hill, and the scene is complete with his signature music and the fast moving chase, back and forth, across the screen.
Even if you skip the entire movie and just watch the end credits for its most imaginative pretend sequel trailers, you’ll have watched your money’s worth. There are some great cameos as well, but we won’t spill the beans on that just as yet.
With a forward pace that’s relentless and packed with so many throwaway gags that you’re laughing almost every minute, 22 Jump Street is a winner.
Verdict: The best comedy summer sequel of the year, 22 Jump Street leaves you wanting for another.
Movie: 22 Jump Street
Directors: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Amber Stevens, Peter Stomare