Phil Lord and Chris Miller since the days of MTV's animated series 'Clone High'. These are guys who are so in tune with their own comedic sensibilities that it's honestly exciting how they continue to impress, and even show exponential growth with every single effort so far.
When 'Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs' was originally announced, many balked at the idea of yet another children's storybook getting the big screen treatment, and that it had to be a money-driven business decision over anything resembling artistic, or creative direction. I learned that these two guys were going to be behind it, and right then and there I knew the property was in good hands. 'Cloudy' turned into one of the best, and easily funniest animated features to be released in years.
It was clear that Lord and Miller knew how to handle animation but what about live-action? Untested waters at that point, and when they signed on to write and direct an adaptation of 21 Jump Street, I'll admit, I did not think it would fly. How could their random, irreverent, and joyful humour possibly translate over from the hand drawn page to real people in real environments? And wait a minute, wasn't 21 Jump Street a serious television series? How could this possibly work??
Work it did, and then some, as 21 Jump Street went on to be a riotously funny movie, and one that now seems to be headed for the annals (anals?) of comedic history. Given the success of the first movie then it was only natural, and expected that there would have to be a sequel at some point. Hold on a minute again though, a sequel to a movie that should never have worked in the first place? Don't sequels to breakout comedy hits basically fail every time? How could this possibly work??
I am convinced now that Phil Lord and Chris Miller are wizards of some sort because they made it work yet again, against all odds! 22 Jump Street is a sequel that at the very least stands shoulder to shoulder with the original Jump Street, and could very well surpass it on repeat viewings. That really is one of the things I love about these guys' sense of humour, and how they inject it into their films, is that there is just so much going on that you really can't possibly catch everything in a single viewing. Jokes, references, and sight gags exist on the edges of the screen sometimes that if you blink you'll miss them!
As it was teased at the end of the first movie, our boys are goin' to college! High school was fun before but now it's time for the immature police officers known as Schmidt and Jenko to grow up and essentially tackle the exact same case as before except now they can't be busted for underage drinking or sex--boo yah! Played to perfection by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, this duo is the real reason to see this movie as their chemistry once again is electric, and you'd really think they've been best friends for years--in my mind I like to think they regularly spend time together outside of their careers, laughing at each others jokes, cooking lobster ala Annie Hall, or shooting guns off in public parks. I mentioned above that they're basically tackling the exact same case as in the first movie, and that is correct because according to their chief "why mess with what worked so surprisingly well before?". Makes sense! So that means that once again Schmidt and Jenko (or Brad and Doug, their undercover aliases) are searching to find a supplier for a drug that was responsible for the overdose death of a student. Did I mention how "meta" this movie is? It's the most meta movie that has ever been made, there are a lot of jokes made at the expense of the idea of sequels in general, and every single one of them hits brilliantly.
This is the kind of sequel where because everything is so tongue-in-cheek, and clever that doing everything pretty much the same as before totally works. Now, I'm not saying that the jokes are recycled because Lord and Miller are much smarter than that, and have way too much respect for the audience. No, everything is somehow completely fresh, yet familiar at the same time--chalk it up to their wizardry once again. What you really want to know though is if this movie is as funny as the first, and will you laugh as much? Humour is subjective, of course, but if you enjoyed the first, then you will enjoy this one--simple as that. I laughed out loud so hard at one point that I choked on my pop and began a coughing fit. Lucky for me, everyone else was still howling with laughter so my coughs were drowned out until they stopped--great success.
If you're looking for a fun time in a threatre this summer where you can laugh your ass off, and grin like an idiot throughout its well paced runtime then why wouldn't you want to check this out, especially if you're a fan of the first? You'll be pleased to know that this is just as good as the original, if not better. Don't forget to stay though the credits either because they're hilarious! I can't wait for Jump Street: Culinary School.