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'22 Jump Street' takes plenty of pot shots at itself

22 Jump Street movie poster
Columbia Pictures

22 Jump Street


The general rule of thumb regarding movie sequels is that they are never as good as the original. The formula for a successful sequel is to generally have your characters do the same thing as before and the slight change can be that it all happens in a different environment. The funny thing is how no one really acknowledges it, even when the people who made the movie give interviews to promote it. Finally, there is a movie that not only acknowledges that is exactly what they are doing, but they beat it over the audiences head about it. That movie is opening today, Friday, June 13, it's "22 Jump Street."

"21 Jump Street" ended with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) telling Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), "You two are going to college!" The movie does not start with them in school, but after their latest assignment it is realized that no one wants to see them doing something new, just what they did before. So begins the jokes of everyone winking to the audience that this movie is a sequel with no apologies. The two do end up at college looking for those behind a new drug hitting the campus, Why-Phy. Schmidt and Jenko proceed to do what they do best, mess up!

The jokes like, "Do the same thing as last time," really gets shoved down the audiences throat. At first it is funny, then it gets a little tiresome and then it gets funny again. The movie is the same way. "22 Jump Street" starts off funny, then gets lame, then gets so funny you may get a headache from laughing so hard. It can sometimes be described as a live action cartoon as some of the antics could never be survived by a human being in real life, but we are always reminded that this is not real life.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum show again that they are good on screen together. It's a pairing that on paper you would think could never work, but it did before and it does again. Speaking of pairs, the directing duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller shows that sometimes two directors can work successfully together. They proved that earlier this year with "The Lego Movie."

It's hard to bash a movie sequel like "22 Jump Street" because the movie dares you to right from the beginning. It's like trying to make fun of someone who has already made fun of themselves, it gives you nowhere to go. The movie is not great, but bad either. Given the amount of laughs it delivers in the final act and end credit sequence (there is also one more scene after all the credits have rolled), it is worth seeing, especially if you saw the first one. That's not a ringing endorsement, but one that is probably good enough for this movie. It is rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence.