Comedy sequels never work. Let’s be honest. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes comedy sequels are really good (Naked Gun, Anchorman), but they never quite compare to the original (Naked Gun, Anchorman). The only time a comedy sequel has ever surpassed the original is Hot Shots: Part Deux, and that’s arguable. Of course, Hot Shots had a very talented comedic director at the helm (Jim Abrahams), who had already worked on a few films that were already considered classics in their genre (Airplane, Naked Gun), so it’s no wonder that the film worked so well.
Hey, you know who else fits that description? Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the writing/directing team behind The LEGO Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and 21 Jump Street. And hey, 21 Jump Street is also a very popular comedy in the subgenre of genre parody. And hey, 21 Jump Street also has a sequel, 22 Jump Street! And hey…
I think you see where I’m going with this. It’s not a wide margin, but yeah, 22 Jump Street is better than the 2012 modern classic, 21 Jump Street. I think the main reason this film works is because it pokes fun not only at cop movies and cop movie sequels, but also pokes fun at its own genre of comedy sequels. For example, it mocks films like (every comedy sequel ever besides maybe Anchorman 2 and, hey, Hot Shots Part Deux!) for being almost exactly the same as the original. At the end, it even shows a few “sneak previews” at the next 30-ish sequels to the movie, including 21 Jump Street Generations starring Richard Grieco and Dustin Nguyen. You know, from the show.
The film is also very funny. While the trailer conveys the movie as an excuse for Schmidt and Jenko to have college shenanigans, they’re actually only in college for about half the movie. The rest of the time is spent having epic chase scenes, going down different paths before eventually coming back together, and SPRING BREAK! The cool thing is that you’re not entirely sure when or if they’ll get back together. I kind of expected the film to end in a cliffhanger with the two torn apart and we’d have to wait for the third movie to see if they’ll get back together.
That’s a big problem, though: that joke at the end kind of ruins the prospects of a threequel. Sure they could make a third one, but it feels like it would ruin one of the best jokes in the movie. When asked if they’d be down for a sequel, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s only response was that they’d rather do a remake of Cocoon. Not necessarily a “no,” just that they wanted to remake Cocoon. Lord and Miller just talked about the joke at the end of the movie, not even bringing up whether or not they’d actually do it. However, based on the box office returns, I have a feeling Sony’s going to be clamoring for more.
Overall, I give this movie a solid A, making it the second-best movie I’ve seen all year, behind a certain other Lord/Miller project. Reviews of Jersey Boys, They Came Together, Trans4mers, Tammy, and Earth to Echo. Like if your favorite is twitter. And as always…
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