"21 Jump Street" was a pleasant surprise when it was released two years ago. Instead of the lame comedy rip-off of a classic 80s TV series that it was expected to be, it turned out to be a rip-roaring action comedy delight. The comedic chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum was sizzling and carried the film through its absurd premise of adult cops undercover as high school students.
In this sequel "22 Jump Street", Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) were sent undercover to college this time with the mission of uncovering the truth about the death of a coed involved with a new party drug called "Whyphy".
As the investigation of the case got underway, Jenko meets a kindred spirit in Zook (Wyatt Russell), a frat jock who thought and acted exactly like Jenko did. Even as Schmidt hooks up with a pretty art major named Maya (Amber Stevens), he is majorly distressed that Jenko is getting more and more into his fraternity bros and his football and was steadily drifting away from their partnership.
Action peaks in a wild spring break party on the beach where the "Whyphy" gang threatens to spread the drug big time to more college students. Schimdt and Jenko have to get their acts together in time to prevent that from happening and apprehend the drug fiends.
Again as with the first film, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum throw all shame to the wind and go all out in going for the laughs. Their chemistry together works as well now as it worked back then. The uncomfortably squirmy scene where Schmidt and Jenko are in session with a shrink is particularly hilarious.
Hill acts as he usually acts as the dorky misfit. He really can't go wrong with that funny face of his. He has a natural talent for physical comedy. But it was Tatum who steps up more in this sequel as he fearlessly makes fun of his "him-bo" image. Tatum's athletic skills are also highlighted in many exciting scenes. Ice Cube steals his scenes as their ill-tempered foul- mouthed boss, Captain Dickon. He would even figure in what I thought was the most jaw-droppingly awkward and outright laugh-out-loud moment of the film.
The humor of this film is very shallow and can even be offensive for some people, but truth to tell, it is really very funny. If you don't mind the mile-a-minute profanity-laden script with heavy sexual or drug- themes, you will be laughing from start to finish with the misfortunes and misadventures of Schmidt and Jenko. The laughs carry on all the way up to the closing credits where they mock their own possible future sequels in a montage that is a must-see in itself. 8/10.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."