Suns out, guns out! Color me stunned that so far the defining summer comedy of 2014 is 22 Jump Street; a surprisingly smart film based on the cheesy cop show from the 80s (its biggest claim was that Johnny Depp starred in it). Speaking of stars; they must have been all aligned for directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who appear to do all of their projects together including 21 Jump Street) because they not only have the number one film of the week, but earlier their The Lego Movie was a spring surprise hit.
Since I pay for my own &**^$#% movie tickets, marketing is something I pay attention to and marketing for 22 was top notch. Too many comedies have trailers that show all of the highlights leaving audiences feeling gipped they spent about two hours and ten bucks to watch something that for two minutes on the Internet they could have laughed at all of the same jokes. (Dumb and Dumber To is giving me that vibe.) With Jump the audience knew they guys go to college but that is about it so there are a lot of laughs to surprise the audience.
What was great about 22’s storyline was that it focused on the overall idea of a sequel, you know the drill, same basic plot, slightly different setup. What 22 Jump Street managed to do was take a standard joke (much like all of those Not Another Genre Something films) and up the ante by mocking itself as a sequel but did not hit the audience in the head with the concept. The secondary theme was the examination of the relationship between Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill).
The comedy would not work if the two leads couldn’t pull their own weight and play well with others. Who knew that the errant eBay customer in The 40-Year-Old Virgin would emerge as such a Hollywood power house in only nine years? Jonah Hill not only starred in the film but produced both Jump Streets along with a writing credit for the story. Seriously, the guy has two Oscar nominations and 51 credits listed on his IMDB page as an actor. As far as Channing Tatum; damn. If his star trajectory continues he could have a Tom Cruise type of career.
The supporting players were well cast. This time around Ice Cube was given a bigger part and produced some of the biggest laughs. Jillian Bell stole every scene she was in. Lastly Wyatt Russell was so tasty that the first thing I did when leaving the theater was Google him (he is Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s youngest son). With all of the recent teen films, how has this guy not been cast before? 22 Jump Street will be Bell’s and Russell’s breakout film.
I recommend 22 Jump Street because it is funny. It is exactly the type of comedy people want in their summer flicks. What put it over the top were the closing credits, which was worth the price of admission alone. I am sure this movie will play great on DVD or cable, but if you can see it in the theater do because there is nothing like an audience all laughing together. It is a great film for dates or with friends. Since 22 is R rated it isn’t meant for family audiences although for teens and parents to see together it is alright (not too much sex stuff, mostly bad language).