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CHANNING TATUM & JONAH HILL IN 22 JUMP STREET

year: 2014 rating: **
Loaded with potential, 22 JUMP STREET is the sequel to the comedic buddy teamup (based on the 1980’s Johnny Depp TV show) where Christopher Tatum and Jonah Hill posed as high schoolers to bust a drug dealer…

Not only did it score at the box office, 21 JUMP STREET was actually really funny and involving, and the duo made a fantastic polar opposite team.

The first of many inside-jokes is when Ice Cube’s grouchy Captain of the 22 Jump Street’s new abandoned church location comments on how no one thought the first “reboot” (referring to the church within the movie, but not really) would actually work like it did... And now they’re piling more money into this new one (again quasi-referring to the church)… Something sequels actually have to do to win over audiences, a second time.

The intentionally mirrored storyline of Hill’s Schmidt and Tatum’s Jenko in college lacks the suspenseful undercover element of keeping their identities secret: Not only do they constantly shrug off the mission at hand… finding the drug dealer that sold to a girl who fatally overdosed… but the students they're involved with are equally pointless and unmotivated.

Jenko bonds with a fellow football jock while Schmidt scores (much too easily) with a girl way out of his league. The twist on who that girl’s related to provides some laughter but the joke gets old after a while. As do the bromantic metrosexual comparisons about the bickering cop-partners being in and out of a close relationship... You’re straight but seem otherwise: We get it already!

The best scenes take place after the weary college story peters out… Not like it had any real juice in the first place… Hell, even their current psychedelic overdose is lame and contrived.  So when the boys infiltrate Spring Break/Mexico there’s a neat burst of overboard sequel-action to make us forget two things: 22 isn’t as good as the first venture, and the first 3/4ths of this movie isn’t very good at all. 

There are a few clever moments, however… Like a literal "red herring" reference and an obscure homage to Woody Allen’s classic ANNIE HALL… And one extreme irony when Jenko goes on a politically-correct rant over a villain’s use of a certain epithet starting with an “F”… The same thing Channing Tatum's co-star, in real life, is still (as of June 2014) desperately apologizing for!
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