A cop movie with two buddies: Jenko, a muscular jock with a double-digital ID and his smarter but altogether less athletic pal Schmidt. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s characters are solidly established after 21 Jump Street, and this sequel isn’t really concerned with character evolution. It’s basically The Odd Couple dropped into Police Academy 2.
Yes, there a story here but it moves in less than mysterious ways: undercover cops, drug deals, guns, gangsters, distractions from new friends, and a bromance pushed to breaking point. Give those guidelines to an infinite amount of monkeys with an infinite amount of Apple products in an infinite amount of chain coffee shops and you’ll get 22 Jump Street within the hour. And probably some quite feasible plots for further sequels as well.
But that’s not to be dismissive of this mostly amusing sequel. It’s not the film to sate a desire for unseen twists, split-time narratives and grand allegorical interpretations. “Come for the dick jokes and stay for the meta humour” would be an accurate if commercially unappealing tag, for amidst the blokey humour there’s something of real substance bristling away at the edge. It might be Jenko learning the sexual-political reasoning as to why homophobia is bad. It could be a car chase (of sorts) in which the direction is dictated by a double-meaning examination of what’s feasible for the film’s (real) budget and what works for the (fictional) funding of our hapless duo’s case.
Like diarrhoea, it’s not terribly consistent, with a noticeable amount of the jokes on display pretty much rendered immediately flushable. Yet unlike said runs, you won’t mind a repeat performance because the moments that work really do connect – especially with the duo’s captain (Ice Cube) repeatedly losing his shit to a stunning extent, as well as a dazzling closing credits sequence. There’s no danger of Tatum or Hill becoming the new Steve Guttenberg.