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'22 Jump Street' has fun poking holes in itself

22 Jump Street

Rating:
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It's that time of year when the shorts are getting shorter and the multiplex is a hot destination for not only some entertainment but to beat that ever rising heat. The summer movie season tends to lean on the tried and true formula to get our hard earned cash and one of the most anticipated films of the summer is finally hitting the screen, tonight in some early previews. "22 Jump Street" doesn't quite hit the comedic highs of the first outing but it has a hell of a lot of fun trying as it pokes fun at everything and everyone, including itself.

The boys are back...
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After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. However when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don't have to just crack the case, they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men at college not only will they solve the case, but it improves the chances of these partners into the best of friends.

While it doesn't quite match the energy of the original, "22 Jump Street" is a goofy good time that plays into the trappings of a sequel making for an enjoyable but ultimately sloppier cinematic experience as they leaned on the self-aware or meta angle of it all a bit much.

Director's Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been on fire as of late and manage to keep the action going at a good pace as they understand the necessary high octane and high energy world that these characters need to exist in so they can navigate the world of college. The script however added a couple of writers and a few things got left by the way side. The story felt much more situational rather than telling one more complete story, as if it needed to work the narrative around the jokes and not the other way around. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it ended up with some logic holes that you could drive a dump truck through and never felt like anything more than one setup after another. Don't get me wrong, the bits were funny but the entire thing like a genuinely cohesive feel as it aped the sequel jokes throughout.

Both Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill were there fantastic selves keep the comedy rolling as Jenko & Schmidt. Seeing the relationship evolve and having their characters deal with the same problems that college kids have was a nice touch but the joke of them going through the motions on yet another "very similar mission got tiring after a while. The usual supporting players showed up as Ice Cube, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell and Peter Stormare all got some moments to shine as the primary supporting cast along with the usual cameos make it a fun ride as we watch Jenko & Schmidt finally grow up and realize that maybe they are just a little too old for this...well you know.

At the end of the day, I can't say that "22 Jump Street" wasn't a lot of fun, because quite frankly it was. I laughed and I laughed pretty loudly as it was almost a case of comedy blowing itself up in an effort to avoid some unnecessary sequels, but like most sequels, it falls a little short of the original in every way.

3 out of 5 stars.

"22 Jump Street" is now playing at theatres everywhere, please check with your local listings for show times.