22 Jump Street

I want a gold plated gun too.
"These undercover cops are going to party like it's their job."

Hi everyone and welcome to a shiny new week at The Tagline! Over the weekend I flipped a coin and decided to see 22 Jump Street, the sequel to the most unexpectedly enjoyable movie I saw in 2012. Before I talk about the movie that I actually saw though, I really feel like I need to talk about the previews before the movie, which reminded me of something maybe I'd forgotten: most comedy movies are really terrible, even in their conception. The idea with trailers seems pretty straightforward to me. Before a movie you show trailers for movies that are similar, and that gets people to keep seeing new movies that are likely to be appealing to them. Only sometimes you go to see a movie that belongs to a genre you aren't generally wild about, and then you end up seeing previews for a bunch of movies that look incredibly terrible. I saw a preview for that awful looking Dumb & Dumber sequel, I saw some movie with Melissa Mccarthy being "funny fat lady" robbing like a fast food place or something equally offensive. There was a movie where Seth Rogan and James Franco bromance their way into North Korea? It was a rough ten minutes for me, and I was beginning to wish that I had been a little late and showed up to the movie just as the previews were concluded.

Look at the swag on Vietnamese Jesus.
That being said, I understand that I shouldn't be too surprised, given that I wasn't exactly going to see the world's most thoughtful movie to begin with. 22 Jump Street, follows up the self-effacing reboot/movie based on the 1987 TV series. The second outing, even more so than the first, is very aware of itself, and makes a lot of self-referential jokes to that effect. This time out Jenko (Channing Tatum) and and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are sent to try and root out a drug dealing operation on a college campus, because everyone knows the safest way to keep a bad thing running is to do exactly the same thing as last time, a point the movie literally says a number of times. This film carries self-referential humor exactly to the limit at which it is still funny and not just gimmicky. The film also features the Jenko/Schmidt bromance prominently, as they experience further strains on their "partnership" and learn what it really takes to stay "partners" after the initial rush of diving out of an exploding vehicle and getting shot fades. As much as being with someone just like you might seem appealing, Jenko learns that it takes friction to start a fire. If this sounds intensely homoerotic, well yeah it is definitely that, and in particular I'm reminded of this scene where Schmidt watches Jenko and his new "bro" working out together and its.... well it doesn't sound like they're lifting weights.

Spring Break is off the hook...?
The plot is as usual nothing to write home about, or pay particular attention to, but it serves as the setup for the movies humor, and so it is inoffensive in that right. There are parts of the movie that I feel went on a little bit too long, which detracted from the experience as a whole, but it wasn't too egregious on that count. The movie runs about two hours, and I really think they could have done it in a solid hour and a half without cutting out anything that was working. There were a few gags that didn't quite sell me, but for the most part a mixture of absurdist humor and just plain weird shit happening kept the movie entertaining throughout the whole thing. Ice Cube is also the center of some of the best moments in this movie, not the least of which are the scenes shot in the Vietnamese church across the street from the Korean church they used in the first movie (only this one is way fancier). I don't really think Jonah Hill is super funny, and I can't say I like him much, but I really think Channing Tatum is just a super funny guy with zero ego, who will do just about anything that a role requires (and certainly it seems like that was how he made his way into a career as an actor to begin with, by being willing to do anything).

I would totally drive one of these.
The sequence over the credits was also really funny, and I think it's cooled that they decided to use normally un-utilized real estate to add more gags. I know I personally am really looking forward to the culinary school sequel, and also the one that happens in outer space. 22 Jump Street has almost doubled the opening weekend of 21 Jump Street, so it's safe to say that a lot of people were also pleasantly surprised by it and decided to check out chapter 2. This one was definitely worth the watch, and I did my best not to spoil all the best moments for you, as I think a few of them will be genuine surprises. Anyway that's all from me today, join me again on Thursday when I review something else, maybe with Kevin Costner in it.

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