Skip to main content

22 Jump Street Review

Previously, on 21 Jump Street…

Actually, on second thought, there’s no need to rehash what happened previously. Not because those plot details are not important; indeed, if you haven’t seen 21 Jump Street in a while, if ever, then you’ll surely miss out on some of the subtler, cleverer jokes of 22 Jump Street, the sequel hitting theaters this weekend.

No, the rehash is unnecessary, because 22 Jump Street provides it right up front. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that 22 Jump Street is nothing but a giant, almost two-hour rehash of 21 Jump Street — and that’s exactly why it works.

Round two of Jump Street picks up where we last saw undercover man-children police officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum): Hard at work busting crime at college. Online college, that is. But following the sudden, drug-fueled death of a student at a local, brick-and-mortar university, Schmidt and Jenko are busted back to the Jump Street program to infiltrate the school, find the drug suppliers, and bring them to justice.

22 jump street screen 3Sound familiar? It should. It’s basically the plot of 21 Jump Street. College subs in for high school. A new hallucinogenic drug called WHYPHY (pronounced Wi-Fi) replaces the last movie’s H.F.S. drug. Schmidt and Jenko’s headquarters has abandoned the Korean church at 21 Jump Street for the Vietnamese church directly across the street at 22 Jump Street; there’s even a condo complex developing on the same block at 23 Jump Street.

The same basic premise and accompanying jokes are shared across the two movies, and that fact is not lost on the characters themselves. Numerous times through 22 Jump Street, Schmidt and Jenko observe that their current assignment shares eerie similarities with their last one. Even their commanding officer, foul-mouthed Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), repeatedly tells Schmidt and Jenko to just “do what [they] did last time.”

“Nobody gave a shit about the Jump Street reboot the first time,” Deputy Chief Hardy, once again played by Nick Offerman, the erstwhile Ron Swanson, tells Schmidt and Jenko early on in the film. “You got lucky.”

Against the odds, the power quartet of Lord, Miller, Tatum and Hill have created a worthy second entry in their Jump Street saga.

Offerman’s line perfectly summarizes the meta-level self-awareness on display throughout 22 Jump Street. Returning directors Phil Lord and Chrisopher Miller, now a household name thanks to their last Jump Street and, most recently and even more popularly, The LEGO Movie, are smart enough to know that the first Jump Street reboot was a tall order, and that the bar for the sequel is even higher. The only way to clear it is to burst straight forward through the wall of empty beer cans.

With a familiar story in place, Lord and Miller are able to put Jenko and Schmidt through familiar paces, but with new coats of paint. Jenko is no longer the “f**k you science” nerd far removed from “the cool kids”; he’s the coolest kid, the best football player on the field, and the most exciting prospect in his fraternity’s pledge class.

Schmidt, meanwhile, is no longer the Peter Pan superstar of the duo; he’s hanging with the slam poem-reading art kid crowd, and even though he has a new girlfriend (although maybe she doesn’t see it that way), he doesn’t feel like he quite fits in. It doesn’t help that people are constantly calling Schmidt out for looking like a narc — or, as one person describes him, “the star of a cop show called Hawaiian Dads.”

The role reversal between Schmidt and Jenko forms the heart of the film. As Jenko thrives on popularity and Schmidt drowns in insecurity, the two begin to grow apart, to the point that Jenko suggests they start “investigating other people,” if only to “sow their cop oats.” It’s a Jump Street movie, so you know that nothing could ever truly separate these two best friends. Still, every time the movie forces a wedge between them, it’s comedy gold.

22 jump street screen 2On most other sequels, the blatant retread of stories and character beats from the original film would leave viewers feeling cold. But because Lord and Miller lean into the familiar by addressing it up front, sharpening some new edge, and boasting even more confidence than usual, it all works. Really, though, everything works because of two names: Hill and Tatum.

As Schmidt and Jenko, Hill and Tatum have created one of the best comedy duos in recent memory. They’re each other’s yin and yang, their equal and opposite numbers, even if they can’t quite complete each other’s sentences. As Offerman suggests, a Jump Street reboot is a tall order, let alone a sequel. It would not work without Hill and Tatum’s undeniable chemistry.

Against the odds, the power quartet of Lord, Miller, Tatum and Hill have created a worthy second entry in their Jump Street saga. By all accounts, it looks like they could keep going for another thirty films. The bottom line: 22 Jump Street isn’t exactly something unique, but it is something cool, and more than that, something hilarious.

Editors' Recommendations

Josh Wigler
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Josh Wigler is a freelance entertainment reporter who has been published by Comic Book Resources, Comics Alliance…
The Wolf of Wall Street is popular on Netflix right now. Here’s why you should watch it (again)
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street.

There are so many weird, strange, and even obscure films that find their way to the top of the most popular movies on Netflix that it's refreshing to see a terrific film like The Wolf of Wall Street march up the charts. While we could give you several reasons why this is the single best movie to watch in September, we're going to narrow it down to three reasons to watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Netflix.

This film is also a timely choice because director Martin Scorsese and his frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio are reteaming soon for The Killers of the Flower Moon later this year. Scorsese and DiCaprio have made some great films together over the past two decades, but we believe that The Wolf of Wall Street is a superior choice because it breaks the mold from Scorsese's previous movies while also giving DiCaprio a chance to play a very different kind of leading man. This flick also happens to have the star-marking turn for the actress who headlined the highest-grossing movie of 2023: Margot Robbie. So sit back and relax as we share our three reasons to watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Netflix this month.
Margot Robbie lights up the screen in her breakout role

Read more
5 great Wesley Snipes movies you should watch
Two men and two women sit together in 1992's White Men Can't Jump.

As one of the more charismatic actors to ever light up the screen, Wesley Snipes built the kind of career that few actors have managed to pull off. The '90s were undoubtedly his decade of dominance, but his stardom continued well into the 2000s, and he was ultimately able to cement himself as one of the great movie stars of his or any generation.

Like any good movie star, Snipes starred in some movies that were pretty bad, but he also starred in plenty of good to great movies. We've plucked the best five movies from his career, in case you're just looking to watch the highlights.
Blade II (2002)
Blade 2 Official Trailer #1 - (2002) HD

Read more
7 franchises that need a reboot right now
The DC Extended Universe's Justice League posing together.

It seems like every classic media franchise is getting rebooted by Hollywood these days. And given the varying degrees of success, people have grown understandably wary of this ongoing practice.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of beloved IPs that deserve reboots, as they still have the potential to grow and explore uncharted territories, all while appealing to new audiences. While some franchises are better off left untouched, these seven quite frankly need to get the reboots they deserve as soon as possible.

Read more