I’ve never seen 21 Jump Street, neither the TV show nor the movie version. At the time the TV show aired, it was as though someone had read my mind and figured exactly the kind of thing I wouldn’t want to watch; when they brought out the movie as a huge joke a couple of years back, I was living in something even more ridiculous than a movie re-make of a kid’s TV show, and didn’t feel the need to partake. But the trailer for 22 Jump Street was so preposterously, winkingly, self aware that there seemed no option but to see it.
Amazingly, it’s that rare movie which lives up to the trailer. I had though they were just goofing around in the trailer, messing with the idea of how dumb and unlikely a sequel would be. Nope, that is pretty much all the good bits in the movie. They never let more than a couple of minutes go by without graffiti-ing the fourth wall like it isn’t even a thing. About to have a scene with Ice Cube; describe his ridiculous office as being like a huge cube of ice. Having another car chase two thirds of the way through the movie; spend the whole chase monologuing about how expensive it is after all the big scenes they’ve already had and how they’ve already used up the budget. And never, never, ever pass up an opportunity to have a character look straight into the camera and say “This is just like what happened the last time.” It ought to be terrible. It’s actually wonderful.
Not all of the rest of the jokes landed for me; I had a lot of those otherwise-rare moments when the whole cinema seemed to be guffawing hysterically around me and I was blinking mildly as if to say, “Well, yes, I see that this was a joke, but really….” It’s a crowd pleaser and I’m not a crowd. Who knew, apart from everyone I know?
For all serious film students, there’s one thudding moment which tells you the world’s got some work to do. Jonah Hill is a chubby schlub, but pulls the hot chick anyway. His big nemesis in the movie is a woman who’s actually better looking than he is and pretty much in his own weight class. And she does not pull the hot anything, which is one of those little constants in movies, no matter how much they labour the idea of being right on about everyone having the right to party their own way. Dumpy chicks can stay single for the moment; Hollywood doesn’t want to be thinking about that. Though she does have a mind of her own, some killer zingers and lots to do, so she’s got that going for her, which is nice.
Favourite moment; early on in the movie where the captain is working through how the best thing for Tatum and Hill to do is just do what they did the last time; everyone liked that. And Tatum sparks up cluelessly to say “What if instead we join the Secret Service and go to the White House and protect the President from terrorists?” and everyone turns around and glares at him while he shrivels up and says “Well, *I* thought it was a good idea…..” I loved him for that.
Second favourite moment; the end credits. Where they do every sequel idea they could think of, all the way up to 40 Jump Street (cool moments include Jump Street Generations with the original TV cast, and 30-something Jump Street where Seth Rogen is swapped in for Jonah Hill while everyone says “No-one will even notice.”). Although I suspect they could probably get away with making most of them, I think they spent the day shooting those credits specifically so that they’d have an excuse not to.