By Darin Skaggs
Within the last few years a new brand of comedy has become more and more popular, this is Meta humor. With shows like Community which makes jokes on what fans and critics say about the show or 30 Rock having commentary on the state of NBC, Meta humor is clearly on the rise. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s new sequel 22 Jump Street is a Meta movie all about the state of the sequel with somewhat of a story inside it.
The film actually takes the same beats as the first one. It does not take place in High School, but now in college. There is a drug circulating this college that Schmidt and Jenko have to stop before it goes big. They are told to do the same thing as last time and everything will turn out the same. Like many poor sequels the similar plots say a lot about sequels in general. The gang is supposed to do the same thing and they will have the same success, but that does not go well for them and makes things more difficult much like if a sequel were to do the same as its predecessor, the audience would be unsatisfied. Schmidt and Jenko have to go against the grain and try out something different to solve the case.
The film is full of moments of breaking the fourth wall, almost to the point of being too on the nose. There are jokes about the budget of the case being doubled and then near the end running out of money. The film is pretty much beat by beat with the plot of the first film just flipped with characters plot points. This is clearly on purpose.
While being a great commentary about movie sequels the film also accomplishes being one of the funniest of the year and could possibly be the funniest. Channing Tatum gets a lot more funny moments like a Meat-Q when Tatum drops his Q-Tip into a fellow football player’s meat sandwich that feels like a Meet Cute. Hill is hilarious as usual especially with his scenes with Ice Cube. Others things include a Annie Hall bit with a surprising pay off, a “Who’s On First?” like bit after the big finale and the amazingly dedicated Jump Street franchise bit.
The only flaw really in the film is that it is less of a story and more of a take on the sequel. It is funny and smart enough that it is not really a flaw at all. If you came for a story you might be disappointed but if you have an opinion on the state of franchises then it will be an enjoyable watch.