I never saw the television show, ’21 Jump Street’. It was popular way before I was old enough to care. My sisters liked it, I think. When it was announced that the show was getting a big screen adaptation with Tatum and Hill in the leads, I didn’t really care. Some dumb buddy cop comedy that was going to get slaughtered with the reviews and produce a hand full of belly laughs resulting in a mediocre yet mildly entertaining trip to the movies; that’s what I thought.
I didn’t expect to pretty much love everything about the film.
Sure, it was stupid, but in a really clever way, and Hill and Tatum were such inspired (and surprisingly so) choices, and their chemistry was undeniable, infectious even. Hill has always had a knack for developing believable chemistry with his co-stars (whether it be Cera, Pitt or DiCaprio), but there was something so deeply honest about the way he meshed with Tatum that it felt even more real, even more authentic.
I totally believe that these guys are major besties off screen, and that’s all that matters.
With my surprise adoration of the first film in check, the idea of a sequel left me super excited and super nervous. There were so many ways that they could have completely screwed this up, and yet they didn’t. No, this is NOT as good as the first film, but despite some snags, it knows when to recycle previous gags and scenarios for comedic effect and when to bring out something fresh, and while the same formula of jealous egos butting heads is used here (this time in a reverse order), the jokes and core themes are developed so well that it doesn’t matter.
We know we saw this before, but we saw it differently.
My main issue here is merely the film’s running time. Sure, it isn’t that long (not quite 2 hours) and yet, it feels long. The last segment (that Miami sequence) feels like it drags out the film, even if it does give us closure and tidies up the storylines. It just felt like the film could have used some trimming to make it a tad brisker in parts. For me, it just lacked a bit of that sharpness that the original had.
Still, this is one clever comedy, and nearly all the gags work well here. The nods to the first film are obvious, but they work well in this formula.
I will add this though; I kind of really hope they don’t make a ’23 Jump Street’.
For me, this is a solid B, a lot of fun with some visible flaws that, in the long run, don't matter!