22 Jump Street – reviews of 'laugh-packed' comedy sequel

Jun 6, 2014

Follow-up to undercover police satire is sly, self-aware and goofily satisfying, say critics

What you need to know
Action comedy sequel 22 Jump Street opens in UK cinemas today. The follow-up to 21 Jump Street by writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller is based on the 1980s television series about undercover police officers investigating crimes in high schools.

In 22 Jump Street, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reprise their roles as undercover cops Jenko and Schmidt, this time going undercover at a local college to investigate a drugs ring. But when Jenko joins the football team and Schmidt infiltrates the college arts scene, their friendship becomes strained.  

What the critics like
Lord and Miller, those masters of genre-parody have followed up their sly, self-referential reboot of 21 Jump Street with "a sly, self-referencing commentary on the inevitability of sequels", says Scott Foundas in Variety. Sticking to a winning formula, they mine the resultant doublings and repetitions for maximum absurdist hilarity. 

The humour in 22 Jump Street ranges from "slapstick to sophisticated, very knowing satire," says Geoffrey McNab in The Independent. But against the odds it makes us care about characters who could easily seem like grotesque comic creations. 

22 Jump Street is laugh-packed, self-aware, and "goofily satisfying in the action department", says John DeFore in the Hollywood Reporter. In addition to meta gags, we get big stunty chases and a finale that is totally ridiculous but fun. 

What they don't like
This follow-up scores cynical laughs from the idea that it could never match up to the original, says Tom Huddleston in Time Out. It doesn't, and sometimes feels a bit tired, but Tatum's loveable puppy-dog performance, Hill's goofy, low-key warmth and some top-notch slapstick "balance out the clunky bits".          

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