A consistently hilarious stream of in-jokes keeps the audience in fits of laughter even if there's virtually no plot to this follow-up to the 2012 hit 21 Jump Street. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum revive their amusing double-act to poke fun at sequels and franchises amid silly set-pieces and starry cameos. And it gives filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller their second terrific comedy of the year, after The Lego Movie.
Following their successful bust of a high school drug ring, undercover officers Schmidt and Jenko (Hill and Tatum) are assigned by their grumpy captain (Ice Cube) to infiltrate a university and track down who's dealing the new drug whyphy. But both get distracted by life on campus: Schmidt begins a romance with Maya (Amber Stevens), while Jenko finds his meathead soul-mate in football teammate Zook (Wyatt Russell). With their partnership in jeopardy, Schmidt and Jenko must refocus on a spring break trip to Mexico, where they discover an old nemesis (Peter Stormare) on the loose.
Using a non-stop series of gags about how follow-up movies are more expensive and less original, the filmmakers go about proving this hypothesis with amusingly overwrought sets and a chaotic, derivative narrative that has very little momentum. Meanwhile, they pack every moment of the film with witty humour that's played expertly by Hill and Tatum, who rekindle their chemistry with a steady barrage of gay double entendre that reveals the movie's true nature as a brom-com. On the other hand, neither the actors nor the filmmakers are willing to push things too far, so they settle for silly vulgarity instead of any black comedy or edgy humour.
The supporting cast has a lot of fun as well, with Russell and Stevens adding plenty of spark in their scenes. As do a stream of A-list cameos from Queen Latifah to Seth Rogen, plus appearances by cast members from the original TV series and the first film. So even if there's no real story here, and nothing to mould the frantic silliness together into something coherent, at least the film is packed with hysterical scenes all the way to the rapid-fire hilarity of the closing credits, in which they riotously rule out another sequel. But just watch them.
Run time: 112 mins
In Theaters: Friday 13th June 2014
Box Office USA: $191.7M
Box Office Worldwide: $188.4M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures
Production compaines: LStar Capital, Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Media Rights Capital, Original Film, Cannell Studios, 33andOut Productions, JHF Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 166 Rotten: 31
IMDB: 7.2 / 10
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Screenwriter: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman
Starring: Jonah Hill as Schmidt, Channing Tatum as Jenko, Dave Franco as Eric Molson, Ice Cube as Captain Dickson, Nick Offerman as Deputy Chief Hardy, Peter Stormare as Big Meat, Rob Riggle as Mr. Walters, Wyatt Russell as Benji, Richard Grieco as Dennis Booker, Amber Stevens as Maya, Jillian Bell as Brandi, Jimmy Tatro as Rooster, Caroline Aaron as Annie Schmidt, Joe Chrest as David Schmidt, Marc Evan Jackson as Dr. Murphy, Eddie J. Fernandez as Scarface, Dax Flame as Zack, Johnny Pemberton as Delroy, Anna Faris as Anna (30 Jump Street: Flight Academy), Bill Hader as Culinary School Villain, Patton Oswalt as MC State Professor, Seth Rogen as Morton Schmidt, Queen Latifah as Mrs. Dickinson, Dustin Nguyen as Vietnamese Jesus
Also starring: Michael Bacall
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