Sunday, 22 March 2015

Noteworthy Films of 2014: 22 Jump Street

I was really surprised at how good 21 Jump Street was back in 2012, but I wasn’t necessarily looking for a sequel. Inevitably with its success at the box office, the critical praise it garnered and Hollywood’s general lack of originality, we ended up with 22 Jump Street. And I’m glad that we actually did. Decent comedy sequels are a rarity amongst the lazy, schlock that gets served up on a regular basis.  And to be brutally honest, the comedy genre itself has become a haven for juvenile, indistinguishable crap that audiences unfortunately sink millions into. But every now and then a handful of films prove this generalisation wrong: Hot Fuzz, Pineapple Express, Neighbors and now 22 Jump Street. 

22 Jump Street doesn’t fall into the traps of comedy sequels; their incessant need to one-up themselves, or their inability to leave the comforts of the previous instalment. It’s clear from the off that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. Breaking the forth wall indirectly, analysing it’s own flaws and the very notions of a remake and sequel, 22 Jump Street is smartly written and genuinely funny. From the assortment of weird and comical personalities, to drug induced high jinx, everything feels very familiar, which the film regularly points out, but simultaneously fresh. Action set-pieces manage to maintain the laughs through sheer silliness and hilarity. A car chase through the campus involving a motorised, over-sized football helmet is particularly memorable. 

While the writing is sharp and has the jokes, the performances really bring the best out of the script. The strong chemistry between Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill is the main reason why the two films have been so successful. Tatum in particular, continues his surprisingly good form as a comedic actor while simultaneously bringing the best out of Hill’s style of comedy. Their bickering and arguing never tires and their entire “bromance” relationship adds an underlying charm to the film.  The supporting cast also do a fantastic job with a constantly enraged Ice Cube and Jillian Bell’s blank expression and delivery offering some great moments. 

22 Jump Street is a highly entertaining sequel that managed to produce the funniest laughs of the year. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill excel with the smart writing, and self-awareness of the overall film. While I have steadily lost interest in the genre, if we could see a comedy with a similar sentiment and mentality as this every year, then I’d be pretty happy. Just no more Melissa McCartney please.  

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